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3 20 



01 1 457 264 






trXvel in tee united states. 



Here tlM rr«« iplrit of mAnUiid, at length 
Tbrow* Hi iMt fiiUen off: and who iludl plM« 

A limit to Um ctant*! nnehalMd ■tnngth, 
Or earb hU twHtacM In tho forward nee T 

For thou, mj country, thou ihnlt nerer tell, 
8nv« with thy ehlldron:— 

— Who shall thon doelara 
Tho data of thy d««p>fonad«d itrongth. or tdl 
Bow happy, In thj lap, tht bobs of men ■ball dwell T 

BmrAR: TUa 




'/ .r,y. i/^-'-''- 

Baroiak, AMordinf to Aet of ConsrcM, In tli« jtn 18M, by 


la Um Clerk*t Offlea of tb« DIstriet Coort of tho United Stalet Ibr tbo Soatlmii DtetrieC 
of Now York. 

JOni F. TBOW. 
tf^ 48. * M OiMM St. V«w Twft. 



The object of this work is twofold — ^to preaent a gen- 
eral view of the traits and transitions of onr countiy, as 
recorded at diJSerent periods and by writers of yarions 
nationalities; and to afford those desirous of anthentic 
information in regard to the United States a gnide to the 
sources thereof. Incidental to and naturally growing out 
of this purpose, is the discussion of the comparative value 
and interest of the principal critics of our civilization. 
The present seems a fSstvorable time for such a retrospective 
review ; and the need of popular enlightenment, both at 
home and abroad, as to the past development and present 
condition of this Bepublic, is uniyersally acknowledged. 
There are special and obvious advantages in reverting to 
the past and examining the present, through the medium 
of the literature of American Travel. It affords striking 
contrasts, offers different points of view, and is the more 
suggestive because modified by national tastes. We can 
thus trace physical and social development, normal and 
casual traits, through personal impressions ; and are un- 
consciously put on the track of honest investigation, made 
to realize familiar tendencies under new aspects, aud, from 
the variety of evidence, infer true estimates. Moreover, 
some of these raconteurs are interesting characters either 


in an liisto«cal or literary point of view, and form an 
attractive biographical Btudj. In a work intended to 
suggest rather than exhanst a subject so extensive, it has 
been requisite to disi^iss briefly many books which, in 
themselves, deserve special cousideration ; but whose 
scope is too identical with other and similar volumes de- 
scribed at length, to need the same full examination. It 
is not always the specific merits of an author, but the 
contrast he offers or the circumstances under which he 
writes, that have induced what might otherwise seem too 
elaborate a discussion of his claims. In a word, variety 
of subject and rarity of material have been kept in view, 
with refereuce both to the space awarded and the extracts 
given. The design of the work might, indeed, have been 
indefinitely extended; but economy and suggestiveness 
have been chiefly considered. 

Many of the works discussed are inaccessible to the 
general reader ; others are prolix, and would not reward 
a consecutive perusal, though worthy a brief analysis; 
while not a few are too superficial, and yield amusement 
only when the grains of wit or wisdom are separated 
from the predominant chaff. It is for these reasons, and 
in the hope of vindicating as well as illustrating the 
claims and character of our outraged nationality, that I 
have prepared this inadequate, but, I trust, not wholly 
unsatisfactory critical sketch of Travel in the United 
States. Those who desire to examine minutely the his- 
torical aspects of the prolific theme, will find, in the 
^^ Bibliotheca Americana" of Kich, a catalogue of an- 
cient works full of interest to the philosophical student. 
Another valuable list is contained in " Historical Nug- 
gets," a descriptive account of rare books relating to 
America, by Henry Stevens (2 vols., London, 1853) ; and 
the proposed " American Bibliographer's Manual," a dic- 
tionary of all works relating to America, by Joseph 


Sabin, of Philadelphia, will, if executed with the care 
and completeness promised, supersede all other manuals, 
and prove of great utility. No fact is more indicative of 
the increased interest in aD that relates to our countrji 
than the demand for the earlier records of its life, prod* 
nets, and history ; * while the foreign bibliography of the 
war for the Union, and the American record and discus- 
fiions thereof, have been already collected or are in process 
of collection under Government auspices.t 

* ** If the price of old books anent America, whether natiye or foreign, 
aboold continue to augment in value in the same ratio as they have done for 
the last thirty years, their prices must become fabulous, or, ^ther, like the 
books of the Sibyls, rise aboye all valuation. In the early part of the pres- 
ent century, the " Bay Hymn Book '* (the first book printed in North Amer- 
iea\ then an exceedingly rare book, no one would have supposed would bring 
$100 ; now, a copy was lately sold for nearly $600, and a perfect copy, at this 
tirae, would bring $1,000. Eliot's " Grammar of the Indian Tongues " was 
lately sold for $160 — a small tract The same author's version of the Scriptures 
into the Indian language could be purchased, fifty years ago, for $50 ; now it is 
worth $500. For Cotton Mather's ** Magnalia Christi Americana," $6 was then 
thought a good price ; now, $50 is thought cheap for a good copy. Smith's 
" History of Virginia," $80 ; now $75. StiA's " History of Virginia," then 
$6, now $20. Smith's "History of New Jersey," then $2, now $20. Thomas's 
•* History of Printing," then $2, now $15. Denton's " History of New Neth- 
erlands,** $5, now $50. These are but a . few out of many hundreds that 
oonld be named, that have risen from trifling to extraordinary prices, in the 
short tptice of half a century." — Western Memorabilia. 

f S* The importance of this subject has been more directly brought to our 
notice in the examination of the foundation of a " Collection of European 
Opinion upon the War," now before Congress for the use of the members, and 
to be deposited in the Congress Library. This desirable collection is to com- 
prise the various pamphlets, speeches, debates, and brochures of all kinds 
that have appeared in reference to the war, from the attack on Fort Sumter to 
the present day, and to be continued to the end of the struggle. We have 
the leading editorials, arranged with great care in chronological order, from 
the most powerful representatives of the public press in England, France, 
Germany, kc. ; also, the correspondence from both armies in the field, of the 
wpeaal agents sent for that purpose. The various opinions expressed by emi- 
nent military and naval writers upon our new inventions in the art of war will 
well deserve study ; and the horoscope of ^e future, not only in our own 
country, but in its influences upon the welfare of the Old World, should be 
carefully pondered over by all political economists." — National IntdUgencer, 


Namerons as are the books of travel in and oommea- 
taries on America — ^ranging from the most shallow to the 
most profomid, from the cmde to the artistic, from the 
instractive to the impertinent — so far is the subject from 
being exhansted, that we seem bnt now to have a dear 
yiew of the materials for judgment, description, and 
analysis. It required the genios of modem communica- 
tion, the scientific progress, the humane enterprise, the 
historical development, and the social inspiration of our 
own day, to appreciate the problems which events will 
solve on this continent; to understand the tendencies, 
record the phenomena, define the influences and traits, 
and realize die natural, moral, and political character and 
destiny of America. 

Niw ToBK, Marek, 1864. 



ImODUCTlOJI • •••••••••• ••••••••••••••..•••• 1 

Eablt Dnoonuu AVD ExPLOBiBS 18 



HcDnepm; IfeDard; Alloaei; ICarqaette; Charieyoix; Karest; etc.... 87 


GhasteDiix; L*Abb6 Robin; Diioh6; Briasot de Warrille; CreveooBur; 
La Rochefoacaald-Lkuiooart; Yobiey; Raynal 68 



Rochambetn ; Taneynnd; S^gar; Chateaubriand; Michaiix; Ifnrat; 
BrillatSaTarin ; De Tocquerille ; De Beaumont ; Ampere ; Lafayette ; 
Fiflch; DeGaaparin; Offioen; Laboolaye, etc. 110 



Berkeley; IfcSpairan; Mn. Grant; Bumaby; Rogers; Borke; Dong- 

lais; Henry; Eddifl; Anbury; Smythe 166 






trIyel in the united states. 



H«rt tiM rr«« iplrit of lunkiBd. at Itncth 
Tbrow* it! lut filttcn off: and who wbaH plM* 

A llmH to tlM ftufk nnehalBod ■trength, 
Or enrb hia iwiflBMs la tho forward race T 

For thou, xuj ooaolry, thov ihalt noTer (kll, 
8av« with thy ehlldrvn:— 

— Who shall th«a doolare 
Tho data of thy doep>foaad«d strangth, or tall 
Bow ki^py, la thj lap, tha aoiii of m«a ■hall dvaU T 

Bbtar: TitAgm, 



%^^ icoti^. (,4.5" 



y. /■/^^'"'* 

Rm t «eki >, Moordinf to Act of ConsrcM, in tlio jmt 1M4, by 
HEKBY T. *rni* KKRii'A'w ^ 

la Um Clerk's Offlea of tbo Dirtrlet Oonrt of tho United Stalee Ibr tbe SoatlMni DIstriet 
of New York. 


48. * M OiMM St. VwTwft. 


Ths object of this work is twofold — ^to present a gen- 
eral view of the traits and transitions of onr country, as 
recorded at different periods and by writers of yarions 
nationalities; and to afford those desirous of authentic 
information in regard to the United States a guide to the 
sources thereof. Incidental to and naturally growing out 
of this purpose, is the discussion of the comparative value 
and interest of the principal critics of our civilization. 
The present seems a favorable time for such a retrospective 
review ; and the need of popular enlightenment, both at 
home and abroad, as to the past development and present 
condition of this BepubUc, is universally acknowledged. 
There are special and obvious advantages in reverting to 
the past and examining the present, through the medium 
of the literature of American Travel. It affords striking 
contrasts, offers different points of view, and is the more 
suggestive because modified by national tastes. We can 
thus trace physical and social development, normal and 
casual traits, through personal impressions ; and are un- 
consciously put on the track of honest investigation, made 
to realize familiar tendencies under new aspects, and, from 
the variety of evidence, infer true estimates. Moreover, 
some of these raconteurs are interesting characters either 


in an histovcal or literary point of view, and form an 
attractive biographical stndj. In a work intended to 
gnggest rather than exhanst a subject so extensive, it has 
been requisite to dismiss briefly many books which, in 
themselves, deserve special consideration ; but whose 
scope is too identical with other and similar volumes de- 
scribed at length, to need the same full examination. It 
is not always the specific merits of an author, but the 
contrast he offers or the circxmistances under which he 
writes, that have induced what might otherwise seem too 
elaborate a discussion of his claims. In a word, variety 
of subject and rarity of material have been kept in view, 
with reference both to the space awarded and the extracts 
given. The design of the work might, indeed, have been 
indefinitely extended; but economy and suggestiveness 
have been chiefly considered. 

Many of the works discussed are inaccessible to the 
general reader ; others are prolix, and would not reward 
a consecutive perusal, though worthy a brief analysis ; 
while not a few are too superficial, and yield amusement 
only when the grains of wit or wisdom are separated 
from the predominant chaff. It is for these reasons, and 
in the hope of vindicating as well as illustrating the 
claims and character of our outraged nationality, that I 
have prepared this inadequate, but, I trust, not wholly 
unsatisfactory critical sketch of Travel in the United 
States. Those who desire to examine minutely the his- 
torical aspects of the prolific theme, will find, in the 
^^ Bibliotheca Americana" of Kich, a catalogue of an- 
cient works full of interest to the philosophical student. 
Another valuable list is contained in "Historical Nug- 
gets," a descriptive account of rare books relating to 
America, by Henry Stevens (2 vols., London, 1853) ; and 
the proposed " American Bibliographer's Manual," a dic- 
tionary of all works relating to America, by Joseph 


Sabin, of Phfladelphia, will, if executed with the care 
and completeness promised, supersede all other manuals, 
and prove of great utility. No fact is more indicative of 
the increased interest in all that relates to our countrji 
than the demand for the earlier records of its life, prod- 
ucts, and history ; * while the foreign bibliography of the 
war for the Union, and the American record and discus- 
sions thereof, have been already collected or are in process 
of collection under Government auspices.f 

* '* If the price of old books anent America, whether native or foreign, 
dionld continne to augment in Talue in the same ratio as they hare done for 
the last thirty years, their prices must become fabulous, or, ^ther, like the 
books of the Sibyls, rise aboTe all valuation. In the early part of the pres- 
ent century, the ** Bay Hymn Book *' (the first book printed in North Amer- 
iea\, then an exceedingly rare book, no one would have supposed would bring 
$100 ; now, a copy was Utely sold for nearly $600, and a perfect copy, at this 
time, would bring $1,000. £liot*s ** Grammar of the Indian Tongues ^' was 
lately sold for $1 60 — a small tract. The same author's version of the Scriptures 
mto the Indian language could be purchased, fifty years ago, for $60 ; now it is 
worth $600. For Cotton Mather*s ** Magnalia Cbristi Americana," $6 was then 
thought a good price ; now, $50 is thought cheap for a good copy. Smith's 
" History of Virginia," $80 ; now $76. Stith's " History of Viiginia," then 
$6, now $20. Smith's ^ History of New Jersey," then $2, now $20. Thomas's 
" History of Printing," then $2, now $16. Denton's ** History of New Neth- 
erlands,'^ $6, now $60. These are but a . few out of many hundreds that 
could be named, that have risen from trifling to extraordinary prices, in the 
short space of half a century." — Western Memorabilia. 

f *> The importance of this subject has been more directly brought to our 
notice in the examination of the foundation of a ** Collection of European 
Opinion upon the War," now before Congress for the use of the members, and 
to be deposited in the Congress Library. This desirable collection is to com- 
prise the various pamphlets, speeches, debates, and brochures of all kinds 
that have appeared in reference to the war, from the attack on Fort Sumter to 
the present day, and to be continued to the end of the struggle. We have 
the leat^g editorials, arranged with great care in chronological order, from 
the most powerful representatives of the public press in England, France, 
Gennany, &c. ; also, the correspondence from both armies in the field, of the 
special agents sent for that purpose. The various opinions expressed by emi- 
nent military and naval writers upon our new inventions in the art of war will 
well deserve study ; and the horoscope of the future, not only in our own 
country, but in its influences upon the welfare of the Old World, should be 
carefully pondered over by all political economists." — NaUonal IrUdligeneer, 


^ Nomeroufi as are the books of travel in and commen- 
taries on America — ^ranging from the most shallow to the 
most profound, from the cmde to the artistic, from the 
instmctiye to the impertinent — so far is the subject from 
being exhausted, that we seem but now to have a clear 
view of the materials for judgment, description, and 
analysis. It required the genius of modem communica- 
tion, the scientific progress, the humane enterprise, the 
historical development, and the social inspiration of our 
own day, to appreciate the problems which events will 
solve on this continent; to understand the tendencies, 
record the phenomena, define the influences and traits, 
and realize the natural, moral, and political character and 
destiny of America. 

Niw ToBK, Mar^ 1864. 



ImoDvonoii • 1 

Iailt Dnoomns A>D SxFLOiBfl 18 


ISnrOH KlflnOVABT ixplokation. 

HenneiMii; MeDard; Alloaez; ICarquette; Charievoiz; ICarest; etc... 87 


nnrcH tbatxllebs and wbitxrs. 

ChftBteQiiz; L'AbM Robin; Duohd; Biissot de Wairille; CrereoGBur; 

La Rochefoacauld-Lianoourt; Yolney ; Raynal 68 



Rochambean ; TaUeyrand; S^gnr; Chateaubriand; IGcfaaux; Marat; 
BriOat^Taiin ; De TooqaeriUe ; De Beaumont ; Ampere ; Lafayette ; 
Flflch; DeGaaparin; Officers; Laboolaye, etc. 110 



BoUey; McSparran; Mrs. Grant; Bomaby; Rogers; Borke; Dong- 

laas; Henry; Eddis; Anbury; Smythe 156 





tbIvel in tee united states. 



Htr« tb« frM ipiiit of BAaklnd, at Irngth 
Throws Its Ust fttters off: aad who shall pUe* 

A Unit to tho gtMlli naehalBtd stmgth, 
Or eorb his swiftness la th« forward race T 

For thoD, my eoontry, thoa shalt norer fail, 
Bavt with thy ehildrM.— 

— Who shall thoD doelaro 
Tho data of thy d««p*foBiidod strenfth, or tdl 
Btw happy, U thy lap, tht sou of men shall dwall ? 

Bbta«t; TUAgtt, 



' y 


( "• 

EirrnxD, aoeordlng to Aet of Congreaa, in the yeur 1(41, bj 


Ib the aork't Office of the Dletriet Coart of the United Statee for the Soathern DIatriet 
of New York. 


nunvB, ffraimTmSt avd xuBurnuTiFcn* 

tf, 48, * fiO OrMM SC, N«w York. 


The object of this work is twofold — ^to present a gen- 
eral view of the traits and transitions of onr eonntry, as 
recorded at different periods and by writers of various 
nationalities; and to afford those desirous of authentic 
information in regard to the United States a guide to the 
sources thereof. Incidental to and naturally growing out 
of this purpose, is the discussion of the comparative value 
and interest of the principal critics of our civilization. 
The present seems a favorable time for such a retrospective 
review ; and the need of popular enlightenment, both at 
home and abroad, as to the past development and present 
condition of this Bepublic, is universally acknowledged. 
There are special and obvious advantages in reverting to 
the past and examining the present, through the medium 
of the literature of American Travel. It affords striking 
contrasts, offers different points of view, and is the more 
suggestive because modified by national tastes. We can 
thus trace physical and social development, normal and 
casual traits, through personal impressions ; and are un- 
consciously put on the track of honest investigation, made 
to realize familiar tendencies under new aspects, and, from 
the variety of evidence, infer true estimates. Moreover, 
some of these raconteurs are interesting characters either 


in an Listoiical or literary point of view, and form an 
attractive biographical study. In a work intended to 
suggest rather than exhaust a subject so extensive, it has 
been requisite to disi^iss briefly many books which, in 
themselves, deserve special consideration ; but whose 
scope is too identical with other and similar volumes de- 
Bcribed at length, to need the same full examination. It 
is not always the specific merits of an author, but the 
contrast he offers or the circumstances under which he 
writes, that have induced what might otherwise seem too 
elaborate a discussion of his claims. In a word, variety 
of subject and rarity of material have been kept in view, 
with reference both to the space awarded and the extracts 
given. The design of the work might, indeed, have been 
indefinitely extended; but economy and suggestiveness 
have been chiefly considered. 

Many of the works discussed are inaccessible to the 
general reader ; others are prolix, and would not reward 
a consecutive perusal, though worthy a brief analysis; 
while not a few are too superficial, and yield amusement 
only when the grains of wit or wisdom are separated 
from the predominant chaff. It is for these reasons, and 
in the hope of vindicating as well as illustrating the 
claims and character of our outraged nationality, that I 
have prepared this inadequate, but, I trust, not wholly 
unsatisfactory critical sketch of Travel in the United 
States. Those who desire to examine minutely the his- 
torical aspects of the prolific theme, will find, in the 
"Bibliotheca Americana" of Rich, a catalogue of an- 
cient works full of interest to the philosophical student. 
Another valuable list is contained in "Historical Nug- 
gets," a descriptive account of rare books relating to 
America, by Ilenry Stevens (2 vols., London, 1853) ; and 
the proposed " American Bibliographer's Manual," a dic- 
tionary of all works relating to America, by Joseph 


Sabin, of Philadelphia, will, if executed with the care 
and completeness promised, supersede all other manuals, 
and prove of great utility. No fact is more indicative of 
the increased interest in all that relates to our country, 
than the demand for the earlier records of its life, prod- 
ucts, and history ; * while the foreign bibliography of the 
war for the Union, and the American record and discus- 
sions thereof, have been already collected or are in process 
of collection under Government auspices.t 

* " If the price of old books anent America, whether native or foreign, 
ahould con^Dne to augment in value in the same ratio as they have done for 
the last thirty years, their prices must become fabulous, or, ^ther, like the 
books of the Sibyls, rise above all valuation. In the early part of the pres- 
ent century, the ** Bay Hymn Book *' (the first book printed in North Amer- 
ica\, then an exceedingly rare book, no one would have supposed would bring 
$100 ; now, a copy was lately sold for nearly $600, and a perfect copy, at this 
time, would bring $1,000. Eliot*s ** Grammar of the Indian Tongues*' was 
lately sold for $160 — a small tract The same author's version of the Scriptures 
mto the Indian language could be purchased, fifly years ago, for $60 ; now it is 
worth $600. For Cotton Mather*s ** Magnalia Christi Americana," $6 was then 
thought a good price ; now, $60 is thought cheap for a good copy. Smith's 
"History of Virginia," $80 ; now $76. Stith's " History of Viiginia," then 
$6, now $20. Smith's ** History of New Jersey," then $2, now $20. Thomas's 
*' History of Printing," then $2, now $16. Denton's ** History of New Neth- 
erlands," $6, now $60. These are but a . few out of many hundreds that 
could be named, that have risen from trifling to extraordinary prices, in the 
diort space of half a century." — Wesiem MemorabiRa. 

f V The importance of this subject has been more directly brought to our 
notice in the examination of the foundation of a " Collection of European 
Opinion upon the War," now before Congress for the use of the members, and 
to be deposited in the Congress Library. This desirable collection is to com- 
prise the various pamphlets, speeches, debates, and brochures of all kinds 
that have appeared in reference to the war, from the attack on Fort Sumter to 
the present day, and to be continued to the end of the struggle. We have 
the leading editorials, arranged with great care in chronological order, from 
the most powerful representatives of the public press in England, France, 
Germany, kc. ; also, the correspondence from both armies in the field, of the 
■pedal agents sent for that purpose. The various opinions expressed by emi- 
nent military and naval writers upon our new inventions in the art of war will 
well deserve study ; and the horoscope of the future, not only in our own 
ooontry, but in its influences upon the welfare of the Old World, should be 
ovefuUy pondered over by all political economists."— iVirfiona/ IntdUgencer, 


Nnmeroufi as are the books of travel in and commen- 
taries on America — ^ranging from the most shallow to the 
most profound, from the crade to the artistic, from the 
instmctive to the impertinent — so far is the subject from 
being exhausted, that we seem but now to have a clear 
view of the materials for judgment, description, and 
analysis. It required the genius of modem communica- 
tion, the scientific progress, the humane enterprise, the 
historical development, and the social inspiration of our 
own day, to appreciate the problems which events will 
solve on this continent; to understand the tendencies, 
record the phenomena, define the influences and traits, 
and realize the natural, moral, and political character and 
destiny of America. 

Niw TOBK, Mar^ 1864. 


IlTIUIlUOTIOJI • •••••••• • 1 

Iailt Dnoomoi AaDSxPLoms 18 



Henncpiii; MeDard; Alloiies; ICarqaette; Charieroiz; ICarest; etc... 87 


nnrcH tratxllebs and wbitxrs. 

ChisteDnz; L'AbM Robin; Duohd; Briaaot de Wairille; CrereooBor; 

La Rochefoacaald-Liancoiirt; Yolney ; Raynal 58 



Bochunbean; Taneyrand; S^gur; Chateaubriand; IGchaux; Mnrat; 
Brinat€aTarin ; De TooqaeriDe ; De Beaumont ; Ampere ; Lafayette ; 
Ilflch; DeGaapMin; Officers; Laboolaye, etc. 110 



Bcfkeley; McSparran; Mn. Grant; Bumaby; Rogers; Burke; Doog- 

laas; Henry; Eddis; Anbury; Smythe 166 




WaiiMy; Cooper; Wilson; Daris; Aahe; Bristed; Kendall; Weld; 
Cobbett ; Campbell ; Byron ; Moore ; Mn. Wakefield ; Hodgson ; 
Janson; Caswell; Holmes and others; Hall; Fearon; Fiddler; 
Lyell ; Featherstonaugh ; Combe ; Female Writers ; Dickens ; 
Fanx; Hamilton; Parkinson; Mrs. Trollope; Grattan; Lord 
Cariisle; Anthony Trollope ; Proitice; Stirlmg 198 

English Abusi or Amibica 262 



Ealm ; Miss Bremer ; Gurowski, and others ; Gennan Writers : Saxe- 
Wtimar; Yon Raomer; Prince Maximilian Yon Wied; lieber; 
Schultz. Other Gennan Writers: Grand; Ruppius; Seatsfldd; 
Kohl; Talvi; Schaff. 298 



National Relations ; Yerranano ; CastigHone ; D'Allessandro ; Capobian- 

oo; Salvatore Abbate e Midori ; Pisani 884 



John and William Bartram; Madame Knight; Ledyard; Career; Jef- 
ferson; Imlay; Dwight; Coxe; Ingersoll; Walsh; Paulding; 
Flint; Clinton; Hall; Tudor; Wirt; Cooper; Hoflfaian; Ohnsted; 
Bryant; GoTernment Explorations; Washington; Mrs. Kirkland; 
Irring. American niustratiYe Literature: Biography; History; 
Manuals ; Oratory ; Romance ; Poetry. Local Pictures : Eyerett, 
Hawthorne, Channing, etc 871 


Conclusion 488 

Ivm 461 


La Terre^ says Fontenelle, est une vieiUe coquette. TV^e 
in so many branches of authorship the interest of books is 
superseded by new discoveries in scienee and superior art and 
knowledge, honest and intelligent books of travel preserve 
their use and charm, because they describe places and people 
as they were at distinct epochs, and confirm or dissipate sub- 
sequent theories. The point of view adopted, the kind of 
sympathy awakened, the time and the character of the writer 
— each or all give individuality to such works, when inspired 
by genuine observation, which renders them attractive as a 
reference and a memorial, and for purposes of comparison if 
not of absolute interest. Moreover the early travellers, or 
rather those who first record their personal experience of a 
country, naturally describe it in detail, and put on record 
their impressions with a candor rarely afterward imitated, 
because of that desire to avoid a beaten path which later 
writers feel. Hence, the most familiar traits and scenes are 
apt to be less dwelt upon, the oftener they are dcscribe'd ; 
and, for a complete and naive account, we must revert to 
primitive travels, whose quaintness and candor often atone 
for any incongruities of style or old-fashioned prolixity. 

A country that is at all suggestive, either through associa- 
tion or intrinsic resources, makes a constant appeal to genius, 
to science, and to sympathy ; and offers, under each of these 


aspects, an infinite varietj. Arthur Young's account of 
France, just before the Revolution, cannot be superseded ; 
Lady Montagu's account of Turkey is still one of the most 
complete ; and Dr. Moore's Italy is a picture of manners and 
morals of permanent interest, because of its contrast with the 
existent state of things. Indeed, that beautiful and unfortu- 
nate but regenerated land has long been so congenial a theme 
for scholars, and so attractive a nucleus for sentiment, that 
around its monuments and life the gifted aud eager souls of 
all nations, have delighted to throw the expression of their 
conscious personality, from morbid and melancholy Byron to 
intellectual and impassioned De Stael, from Hans Andersen, 
the humane and fanciful Dane, to Hawthorne, the intro- 
spective New Englander. What Italy has been and is to 
the unappropriated sentiment of authors, America has been 
and is to unorganized political aspirations : if the one country 
has given birth to unlimited poetical, the other has suggest- 
ed a vast amount of philosophical speculation. Brissot, Cob- 
bett, and De Tocqueville found in the one country as genial 
a subject as Goethe, Rogers, and Lady Morgan in the other ; 
and while the latter offers a permanent background of art and 
antiquity, which forever identifies the scene, however the light 
and shade of the writer's experience may differ, so Nature, in 
her wild, vast, and beautiful phases, offers in the former an in- 
spiring and inexhaustible charm, and free institutions an ever- 
suggestive theme, however variously considered. 

The increase of books of this kind can, perhaps, be real- 
ized in no more striking way than by comparing the long 
catalogue of the present day with the materials available to 
the inquirer half a century ago. When Winterbotham, in 
1796, undertook to prepare an " Historical, Geographical, Com- 
mercial, and Philosophical View of the United States " * — to 
meet an acknowledged want in Europe, where so many, con- 
templating emigration to America, anxiously sought for ac- 

* Four Tols. Svo., with a series of maps, pktes, portiaits, &c., London, 
1796. *' A Talaable record of the state of this continent at the end of the 
last century, selected from all accessible sources.'* 


onrate knowledge, and often for local and political details, and 
where there existed so much misconception and such vision- 
ary ideas in regard to this country — ^he cited the following 
writers as his chief resonrce for facts and principles of his- 
tory, goyemment, social conditions, and statistics : the Abb6 
Raynal, Dr. Franklin, Robertson, Clavigero, Jefferson, Bel- 
knap, Adams, Catesby, Morse, Boffon, Gordon, Ramsay, Bar- 
tram, Cox, Rash, Mitchill, Cutler, Imlay, Filson, Barlow, 
Brissot, and Edwards. The authenticity of most of these 
writers made them, indeed, most desirable authorities ; but 
the reader who recalls their respective works will readily per- 
ceive how limited was the scope of such, considered as illus- 
trating the entire country. Dr. Belknap wrote of New 
Hampshire, Jefferson of Virginia, Bartram of Florida and a 
few other States ; Ramsay, Gordon, Adams, and Franklin ftur- 
nished excellent political information ; but Morse's Geography 
was quite crude and limited, and Brissot's accoimt of America 
was tinctured with his party views. We need not lose sight 
of the benefits which our early historical authors and natural- 
ists conferred, while we fully recognize the superior complete- 
ness and scientific insight of later and better-equipped authors. 
Dr. Belknap, it will ever be conceded, stands foremost as a 
primitive local historian, and benign is his memory as the 
indefatigable student of venerable records when the steeple 
of the Old South Church, in Boston, was his study ; while, as 
the founder of the Massachusetts Historical Society, every 
explorer of New England annals owes him a debt of grati- 
tude : yet his description of the White Mountains is more 
valuable for its early date than for those scientific and pic- 
turesque details which give such interest to the botanical 
researches of contemporary authors. The data furnished by 
Catesby and Bartram have still a charm and use for the 
MvarU who examines the flora and ichthyology of Florida 
and the Carolinas — ^notwithstanding the splendid work of 
Agassiz ; and there are temporary aspects of life at the South 
noted by Paulding, which give emphasis to the more thorough 
statistics of Olmsted. 

4 nsTBODnoTioi^. 

To a philosophical reader, indeed, there are few more 
Btriking illustrations of character than the diverse trains of 
thought, sources of interest, and modes of viewing the same 
subject, which books of travel incidentallj reveal: from 
Herodotus to Humboldt, the disposition and idiosyncrasies 
of the writers are as apparent as their comparative ability. 
There is, undoubtedly, great sameness in the numerous jour- 
nals, letters, and treatises of travellers on America ; only a few 
of them have any claim to originality, or seem animated by vital 
relations to the subject ; a specimen here and there represents 
an entire class ; and to analyze the whole would be wearisome ; 
yet, in all that bear the impress of discrimination and moral sen- 
sibility, there is evident the individuality of taste and purpose 
that belongs to all genuine human work ; and in this point of 
view these writings boast no common variety : each author 
looks at his theme through the lens to which his vision is 
habituated; and hence we have results as diverse as the 
medium and the motive of the respective writers. It accords 
with Talleyrand's political tastes that the sight of Alexander 
Hamilton— one of the wisest of the republican legislators — 
should have been the most memorable incident of his exile in 
America : equaUy accordant with Ampere's literary sentiment 
was it that he should find a Dutch gable as attractive as 
Broadway, because it revived the genial humor of Irving's 
facetious History : Wilson and Charles Bonaparte found the 
birds^ French officers the fair Quakers, English commercial 
travellers the manufactures and tariffs, English farmers the 
agriculture. Continental economists the prison and educational 
systems, Lyell the rocks and mines, Michaux the trees, sports- 
men the Western plains, and clerical visitors the sects and 
missions — ^the chief attraction; and while one pilgrim be- 
stows his most heartfelt reflections upon the associations of 
Mount Vernon, another has no sympathy for any scene or 
subject but those connected with slavery : this one is amus- 
ing in humorous exaggeration of the Connecticut Blue Laws, 
and that one extravagant in his republican zeal ; tobacco and 
maple sugar, intemperance and prairie hunting, reptiles and 



deotions, the whale fishery and the IndianB, maimers and 
morals, occupy, in most mieqnal proportions, the attention of 
different writers ; an engineer praises the ingenuity and hardi- 
hood, while he deprecates the fragility of the ^' remarkable 
wooden bridges in America ; " an editor discourses of the in- 
fluence and abuse of the Press ; a horticulturist speculates on 
the prospects of the vine culture, and an economist on the 
destruction of the forests and the desultory system of farm- 
ing. Chambers, accustomed to cater for useful knowledge 
for the people, describes public establishments and schools ; 
while Kossuth's companion Pulskzy looks sharply at the 
^ white, red, and black" races of the land, and speculates 
therefrom upon democracy and its results; Lady Stuirt 
Wortley enters into the sentiment of the scenery, and Miss 
Bremer into the details of domestic economy ; the Earl of 
Carlisle asks first for AUston's studio on landing, and, with the 
liberality of a scholar and a gentleman, elucidates the country 
he has partially but caiMidly observed, in a popular lecture ; 
while the Honorable Augustus Murray had too much rare 
sport in the West, and formed too happy a conjugal tie in 
America, not to have his recollections thereof, bright and 
kindly in the record. In a word, every degree of sympathy 
and antipathy, of refinement and vulgarity, of philosophi- 
cal insight and shallow impertinence is to be traced in these 
books of American travel — from coarse malice to dull good 
nature, and from genial sense to repulsive bigotry. And 
while the field may appear to have been well reaped as re- 
gards the discussion of manners, government, and industrial 
resources — ^recondite inquirers, especially the ethnologists, 
regard America as still ripe for the harvest. 

Years ago, Le Comte Carli* wrote to his cousin : " Je me 
propose de vous developper mes id^es, ou, si vous le voulez, 

• "Lettres Americaines," 2 vols. Svo., Paris, 1788. "In the first part, 
the author describes the maimers and customs of the Americans before their 
eoontrj was discovered by Europeans. He also belieyes that traces of the 
r^gious rites of the Church of Rome were found among ihem, which i 
Ued baptim and the communion of bread and wine." 


mes songeB, conoemant les anciens penpleB de TAmerique que 
je crois descendns de ces antiques AUantides si fameux dans 
lliistoire des premiers temps." And, within a few months, a 
London criticd journal has mercilessly ridiculed the Abbe Em. 
Domenech, who published his '^ Seven Years' Residence in the 
Great American Deserts ; " in the introduction to which he 
remarks: '^America is not solely an El Dorado for free- 
booters and fortune seekers ; though few persons have gone 
thither to gather the fruits of science." He refers to the 
origin of tJie Indian tribes and the various theories on the 
subject, and alludes to the undoubted fact that ^^ numerous 
emigrations took place at very remote periods ; " and adds : 
*^ AMca has become known to us, but America has still a 
vast desert to which missionaries, merchants, and some rare 
scientific expeditions have alone penetrated. Its history, its 
geography, and its geology are still wrapped in swaddling 
dothes. America is now, comparatively speaking, a new 
country, a virgin land, which contains numerous secrets. 
The Government of the United States, to its praise be it, 
have, of late years, sent scientific expeditions into the Amer- 
ican Deserts ; " and he notes the publications of Schoolcraft, 
Catlin, and the Smithsonian Institute. 

We have first the old voyageurs in the collection of 
De Bry and his English prototype Ogilby — ^the quaint, often 
meagre, but original and authentic records of the first explor- 
ers and navigators ; then, the diaries, travels, and memoirs of 
the early Jesuit missionaries ; next, the colonial pamphlets 
and reports, official, speculative, and incidental, including the 
series of controversial tracts and descriptions relating to New 
England and Virginia and other settlements ; the reports of 
the Quaker missionaries, the travels of French officers who 
took part in the Revolutionary War, and the long catalogue 
of English books — from the colonial to the cockney era; 
while the lives of the Spanish explorers, of the pioneers, the 
military adventurers, and the founders of colonies fill up and 
amplify the versatile chronicle. From Roger Williams's Key 
to the Indian Languages, to Sir Henry Clinton's annotations 

nrrsoDucrnoN. 7 

of Gkiihame's History of the American War, from De Vries to 
De Tocqueville, from Cotton Mather * to Mrs. TroUope, from 
Harmon's "Free Estate of Virginia," published in 1614, to 
Dr. Russell's fresh letters thence to the London Times ; from 
Champlain's voyage to Dickens's Notes, from Zenger's Trial f to 
the last report of the Patent Office — ^the ccUalogue raiaonrUe 
of books of American travel, history, and criticism would 
include every phase of life, manners, creed, custom, develop- 
ment, and character, from the imperfect chart of unknown 
waters to the glowing photograph of manners in the analyt- 
ical nineteenth century. We find, in examining the library 
of American travels, that toleration is the charm that invests 
her to the heart yet bleeding from the wounds of relentless 
persecution ; and, in the elation of freedom, the page glows 
with eloquent gratitude even amid the plaints of exile. 
Mountains, rivers, cataracts, and caves make the child of 
romance pause and plead ; while gigantic fossil or exquisite 
coral reefs or a superb tree or rare flower win and warm the 
naturalist : one lingers in the Baltimore cathedral, another at 
the Moravian settlement at Bethlehem, and a third in a Uni- 
tarian chapel at Boston, according to their respective views ; 
while "equality of condition," small taxes, cheap land, or 
plentiful labor secures the advocacy of the practical; and 
solecisms in manners or language provoke the sarcasms of the 

We derive from each and all of these commentators on our 
country, information, not otherwise obtainable, of the aspect 
of nature and the condition of the people, at different eras and 
in various regions : we thus realize the process of national 

* Cotton Mather*B '* Magnalia Christi Americana ; or, the Ecclesiastical 
History of New England," 2 vols. Svo., first American ed., Hartford, 1820. 

t " A Brief Narrative of the Case and Trial of John P. Zenger, Printer of 
the New York * Weekly Journal,' for a Libel," 4to., pp. 63, New York, 1770. 
Ooremeur Morris, instead of dating American liberty from the Stamp Aet, 
traced it to the prosecution of Peter Zenger, a printer in the colony of New 
York, for an alleged libel : because that event revealed the philosophy of 
freedom, both of thought and speech, as an inborn human right, so nobly set 
forth m Miltoo's treatise on unlicensed printing. 


development ; trace to their origin local peculiarities ; behold 
the present by the light of the past ; and, in a manner, iden- 
tify ourselves with those to whom familiarity had not blmited 
the impression of scenes native to ourselves, and social traits 
or political tendencies too near for us to view them in their 
true moral perspective. It may therefore prove both useful 
and interesting, suggestive and entertaining, to follow the 
steps and listen to the comments of these numerous travellers 
and critics, and so learn better to understand, mo^ justly to 
appreciate and wisely love the land of our birth, doubly dear 
since fratricidal hands have desecrated her fame. 

After colonial enterprise, republican sympathy, economical 
zeal, the satirical, the adventurous, and the scientific had thus 
successively reported to Europe the condition and prospects, 
the errors and merits of our country, in the height of her 
material prosperity, broke out the long-matured Rebellion of 
the Slaveholders ; and while a vast and sanguinary civil war 
tested to the utmost, the moral and physical resources of the 
nation, it called forth a new, more earnest and significant 
criticism abroad. To analyze this would be to discuss the 
entire foreign bibliography of the war for the Union. We 
can but glance at its most striking features and important 

The first lesson to be inferred from the most cursory sur- 
vey of what has been published in Europe on what is there 
called ^^ the American Question,'' is the immense and intricate 
influence and relations which now unite the New to the Old 
World. Commerce, emigration, political ideas, social inter- 
ests, literature, science, and religion have, one and all, con- 
tinued to weave strong mutual ties of dependence and re- 
ciprocity between Europe and America, to realize the extent 
and vital importance of which we have only to compare the 
issues of the European press for a single week with the sparse 
and obscure publications whereby the foreigner, a century 
ago, learned what was going on or likely to be achieved for 
humanity on the great western continent. This voluminous 
and impressive testimony as to the essential importance of 


America to Enrope, is quite as manifest in the abuse as in the 
admiration, in the repulsion as the sympathy of foreign wri- 
ters, during the memorable conflict ; for selfish fear, interested 
motives, or base jealousy inspired their bitter commients far 
more than speculative indifference ; while those in a disinter- 
ested position, actuated solely by philosophical and humane 
impulses, elaborately pleaded the cause of our national life 
and integrity as involved in the essential welfare of the civil- 
ized world. Ne?t to this universal acknowledgment of a 
mutual stake in the vast conflict, perhaps for us the most sin- 
gular revelation derived from the foreign discussion of our 
dvil and military affidrs has been that of the extraordinary 
ignorance of the country existing abroad. Apart from wilful 
political and perverse prejudice, this popular ignorance is 
doubtless the cause and the excuse for much of the patent 
injustice and animosity exhibited by the press toward the 
United States. The rebellious government organized a social 
mission to Europe, whereby they forestalled public opinion 
and artfully misrepresented facts : so that it has been a slow 
process to enlighten the leaders of opinion, and counteract 
the work of mercenary writers in France and England sub- 
sidized at the earliest stage of the war. 

But with all due allowance for want of knowledge and 
the assiduity of paid advocates of error, through all the pas- 
sion, prejudice, and mercenary hardihood which have given 
birth to so much falsehood, malice, and inhumanity in the 
foreign literary treatment of our national cause in this stupen- 
dous crisis and climax of social and civil- life — we can yet dis- 
tinctly trace the influence and recognize the work of friend 
and foe in the recent avalanche of new commentators on 
America: their motives become daily more obvious, their 
legitimate claims more apparent, and their just influence bet- 
ter appreciated. History has in store for the most eminent 
an estimate which will coimteract any undue importance 
attached to their dicta by the acute sensibilities of the passing 
time, so " big with fate." In an intellectual point of view, 
the course of English writers is already defined and explained 


to popular intelligence : the greater part of their insane ill 
will and perverse misrepresentation being accredited to polit- 
ical jealousy and prejudice, and therefore of no moral value ; 
while the evidence of bribery and corruption robs another 
large amount of vituperation and false statement of all 
rational significance ; while the more prominent and powerful 
expositors, as far as position, capacity, and integrity are con- 
ceined, are, to say the least, not so unequally divided as to 
cause any fear that truth and justice lack able and illustrious 
defenders : in the political arena. Roebuck's vulgar anathemas 
were more than counterbalanced by the sound and honest 
reasoning of Cobden and the logical eloquence of Bright ; 
while we could afford to bear the superficial sneers of Carlyle, 
more of an artist than a philosopher in letters, and the un- 
worthy misrepresentations of Lord Brougham, senilely aris- 
tocratic and unsympathetic, while the vigorous thinker and 
humanely scientific reformer John Stuart Mill so clearly, 
consistently, and effectively pleaded the claims of our free 
nationality. And in France, how vain in the retrospect seem 
the venal lucubrations of pamphleteers and newspaper con- 
tributors arrayed against the Government and people of the 
United States when fighting for national existence and agidnst 
the perpetuity and canonization of the greatest of human 
vn"ongs — when, in the lecture room of the College of France, 
the gifled and erudite Edouard Laboulaye expounds the grand 
and rightful basis of our Constitution, and in the salons of 
the same metropolis scatters his ^Ht-kindled pages in vindica- 
tion of our social privileges and civic growth ; and, at the 
French Academy, Montalembert thus opens his discourse : 

" Gentlemen, eighty years have elapsed since M. Montyon con- 
fided to the French Academy the mission of crowning not only lite- 
rary works usefal to morals, but virtuous deeds. It was in the year 
1782; at the moment when the peace of America conunenced to 
recompense the glorious cooperation which France had lent to the 
emancipation of the United States and to the birth of a great free peo- 
ple, tohote greatness and whose liberty shall never perish^ if it please Gody 
in the formidable trials which it is passing through to-day. Louis XYI. 


showed himself still animated by the wisdom which had called Male- 
sherbes and Tm^t to his oonnsels. The Queen Marie Antoinette had 
given birth to her firstborn ; Madame Elizabeth of France was in 
her eighteenth year, illuminating Versailles with her virginal graces 
and her angelic piety — that Elizabeth whose bust you see before you, 
presented by M. Montyon himself, with the inscription ' To Virtue,* 
of which she seemed the most perfect and touching type. Liberty 
then seemed to rise up pure and fruitM in Europe as in America, and 
onr ancient royalty to be steeped in a new fountain of youth, pop- 
ulariCj, and rirtue. 

^* How many miscalculations, ruins, and disasters, above all, how 
many crimes and humiliating failures, since these days of generous 
illusion, of legitimate enthusiasm and blind confidence I How many 
cruel lessons inflicted upon the noblest aspirations of the human 
heart! How many motives for not surrendering themselves to the 
most reasonable hopes except with a salutary humility, but however, 
without ever abdicating the indissoluble rights of human liberty or 
banishing to the land of chimeras the noble ambition of governing 
men by honor and conscience ! " 

The new comments on America elicited by the war are 
threefold : first, political speeches ; second, newspaper com- 
mentaries ; and third, treatises deliberately written and pub- 
lished« Of the first, the greater part are unavoidably ephem- 
eral in their inflnence, and usually called forth by a special 
phase of the war in its international relations ; the second, 
especially as regards the leading journal in Great Britain and 
most famous in the world, have sunk to the lowest conceivable 
level as a medium of authentic information and a mercenary 
agency ; in the third department alone has anything of a com- 
plete and permanent interest been introduced ; and there are 
pages of De Gasparin, Laboulaye, Mill, Caimes, Newman, 
CJochin, and Martin, which deserve to be enshrined as literary 
iUustrations of Christian liberalism and eloquent loyalty to 
truth and humanity in the defence and illustration of Ameri- 
can liberty, law, and life, in their magnanimous conflict with 
injustice, degradation, and cruel sacrilege. When Lafayette, 
nearly half a century ago, received at the hands of the nation 
m whose behalf be had fought in his youth, the greatest pop- 
ular ovation ever granted to a hero, he thus alluded to the 

12 iNTBODUonoiir. 

Union in one of his replies to the municipal welcomes that 
greeted his entrance into every city of the land : 

"A Union, so essential, not only to the fate of each member qf the 
wnfederaey^ but also to the general fate of mankind, that the least 
breach of it would be hailed with barbarian joy by a universal war- 
whoop of European aristocracy and despotism." 

It was in reply to this base " war whoop " that the writers 
we have mentioned, so eloquently and seasonably advocated 
the cause and character of our nation. 

One of the most curious and interesting of the countless 
subjects which the history of our memorable conflict will 
yield to future philosophical investigation, will be its literary 
fruit and record — the bibliography of the war — and of this 
the foreign contributions will afford some remarkable and 
brilliant specimens. If to ourselves, as a nation, the war for 
the Union hai^been a test of extraordinary scope and intensity 
—developing a military and scientific genius, a sanitary enter- 
prise, an extent of financial resources, a capacity for self-sacri- 
fice and self-reliance imdreamed of in our prior experience ; if 
it has tested personal character and modified social estimates, 
and tried absolutely the comparative worth and latent force 
of our institutions and national sentiment, not less has it 
tested the political magnanimity, the press, the prejudices, the 
social philosophy, and humane instincts of Europe ; and if the 
crisis has evoked much that is mean and mortifying in the 
spirit of those old communities in their feelings toward our 
young republic in the bitter hour when the pangs of a second 
birth are rending her vitals, so also has it called forth memor- 
able, benign, noble words of cheer and challenge from volun- 
teer champions of America abroad, in the foremost ranks of 
her best and most honest thinker^, lovers of truth, and repre- 
sentatives of humanity. 



Fbom the time when the existence of this continent was 
bnt oonjectoral to the European mind, and recognized as a 
fact of nature only in the brain of a poor Genoese mariner, 
it was looked to, thought of, imagined chiefly in its relation 
to the Old World, as the completion and resource of her civil- 
ization — a new opportimity, a fresh arena. Gold seekers, * 
indeed, were prompted to gaze hither by mere cupidity, and 
Columbus nearly lost his long-solicited aid from the Spanish 
sovereigns by insisting on hereditary privileges of rule and 
possession in case of success ; but the idea that warmed the 
generous purpose of Isabella was the conversion to Chris- 
tianity of the heathen tribes of America, and the extension 
of Catholic rule in the world. No candid thinker can look 
back upon the period of the discovery without tracing a 
wonderful combination of events and tendencies of humanity, 
whereof this land seems the foreordained and inevitable goal 
and consequence. It cannot appear to the least imaginative 
and philosophical mind as an accident, that the zeal for mari-^ 
time discovery should have awakened in Europe simultaneous- 
ly with the access of new social truth, the sudden progress of 

* " Les cherchears d*or ont conunence, ni voulant qu*or, rien de plus brisant 
fhomme, Colomb, Ic meilleur dc tous, dans son propre journal, montre ccla avec 
me naiTet^ terrible, qui d'avance, fait fremir de ce que fcront sea BucceaseurB.'* 

— MlCHlLR. 


ideas, and the triumph of mechanical genius. With the 
fifteenth century the "civilization of the sanctuary'' over- 
leaped its long exclusive boimdaries, and, with the invention 
of printing, became a normal need and law of humanity ; 
feudalism waned ; the Reformation awoke and set free the 
instinct of faith and moral freedom ; and just at this crisis a 
new world was opened, a fresh sphere afforded. As the idea 
of "geographical unity" — ^the conviction that "the globe 
wanted one of its hemispheres" — was the inspiration of Colum- 
bus, so to the eye of the thoughtful observer, an equilibrium 
of the moral world — ^a balance to the human universe — was as 
obvious and imperative a necessity ; for the new ideas and the 
conflict of opinions and interests, and especially the new and 
absolute self-assertion, incident to the decay of error and the 
escape from traditional degradation, made it indispensable 
to the safety of the innovator, the freedom of the thinker, 
the scope of the dissenter and reformer, to find refuge and 
audience in a land whose destinies yet lay undeveloped in the 
wild freedom of nature, and where prowess of mind as well 
as of animal courage could work into " victorious clearness " 
the confused problems of an aspiring civilization, and lay the 
foundation of an eclectic, liberal, and free community of men 
— " a wider theatre and a new life." 

Accordingly, with the progress of time and the accumula- 
tion of historical details, with the profound analysis thereof 
that characterizes modem research — the decline of feudal and 
ecclesiastical sway in Europe, the Refonnation, and the inven- 
tion of printing ai'e seen to have an intimate relation to and 
affinity with the discovery of America, in the series of hbtorical 
events which have resulted in the civilization of the nineteenth 
century. Nor is this original association of the New and Old 
World without a vague physical parallel ; for it has been a 
favorite scientific speculation that there was an ancient union 
or proximity of the two continents — suggested by the fact 
that the eastern shore of America advances where the opposite 
shore of Europe recedes. " Firstborn among the continents," 
says Agassiz, " though so much later in culture and civUiza- 


ti<m than some of more recent birth, America, as far as her 
physical history is concerned, has been falsely denominated the 
Kew World." " America," says Ritter, " although it repeats 
the contrasts of the Old World, yet the coarse of its momitain 
dbains is not from east to west, but from north to south. Its 
sea coast best endowed with harbors and islands is on the 
eastern side, and so turned toward the civilization of the Old 
World. The Gulf Stream, which may be called the great com- 
mercial highway of nations, brought both of the continents 
bordering on the North Atlantic into direct connection. 
North America was, therefore, destined to be discovered 
by Europeans, and not by Asiatics. Asia could easily have 
transferred a part of its population to America, in consequence 
of the proximity of their shores at Behring's Straits. But the 
sea coast of North America is so richly furnished with har- 
bors and islands, that it readily attracted European civiliza- 
tion. The gentle slopes of the American continent offered a 
most favorable field to Europeans, allowing, as they did, civil- 
ization to penetrate without obstruction every portion of the 
land. Nature, too, has shown us, by giving to America river 
systems which run northward to the numerous groups of 
islands and peninsulas of the Polar Sea, that America was 
destined even more than Europe to send civilization to the 
northern portions of the globe." * 

The North American continent extends from the twenty- 
fourth to the forty-ninth degree of north latitude, and from 
the sixty-sixth to the one hundred and twenty-fourth degree 
of west longitude : its area is more than five sixths that of 
Europe, and more than ten times that of Great Britain and 
France united: there are seven thousand miles of eastern 
shore line, thirty-four hundred southern and twenty-two 
hundred western ; while the northern lake line is twenty-two 
hundred miles. Climate, soil, avocation, and productions are, 
by this affluent space, adapted to the constitution, the charac- 
ter, and the necessity of each European nationality — so that 

• ''Geographical Studies,*' bj Professor Carl Ritter, of Berlin, translated 
by W. L. Gage. 


the German vinedresser, the Italian musician, the Spanish 
planter, the French modiste — ^Pole, Russian, Swede, Swiss, and 
Sicilian — ^the professor, merchant, man of science, agriculturist, 
tough rustic, delicate artiste, radical writer, proselyting priest, 
or cosmopolitan philosopher — with any sagacity, self-respect, 
or urhanity, can readily find the physical conditions or the 
social facilities, the climate, business, and community, the 
scopes, position, and prosperity adapted to his temperament 
and faculty. The Spanish, French, and colonial history of 
America — the national epoch with its statistics of navigation, 
population, taxation, education, public lands, railways, manu- 
factures, patents, canals, telegraphs, legislation, municipal 
rule, emigration, jurisprudence, trade, and government — ^and, 
finally, the causes and significance of the present rebellion — 
are each and all elements of avast historical development, 
wherein a Christian philosopher can easily trace a consecutive 
significance and Divine superintendence of humanity. 

Travellers of ordinary intelligence and obser^'ation are not 
unfrequently lured into vague but rational conjectures as to 
the history of races by the resemblance so often apparent 
between the memorials of widely separated and most ancient 
people. An American familiar with the trophies of an Egyp- 
tian museum, who has examined the contents of a Western 
mound, visited an Etruscan city, like Volterra, Druidical re- 
mains in Britain, or compared the porcelain idols of Burmah 
with those found in South and Central America, will be 
tempted to follow with credulity the ingenious speculations of 
antiquarian savans who argue from symbolic coincidences that 
an identical language and worship, in remote ages, linked in a 
common bond the world's inhabitants ; or that similar trophies 
of faith found in Odin stones and Hindu temples, in Etrurian 
sepulchres and Mississippi tumuli^ at least, suggest a more 
ancient emigration to America than is claimed by the advo- 
cates of Norse discoveries. It is but needful to read the his- 
tory of the serpent symbol and the recent controversies as to 
unity of races, to find in such ethnological speculations a re- 
markable basis of fact ; whether or not we admit the prob- 


ability so confidently urged that a Chinese priest and a fifth- 
oentiirj Buddhist missionary visited this continent via the 
Pacific, and reported thereof, ages before Christopher Colum- 
bus dreamed of a new worid. In fact, the early history and 
traditions relating to the discovery and casual settlements, is 
one of the most remarkable chapters in the annals of the 
world — affor4ing, on the one hand, the greatest scope for 
imagination, and, on the other, the most suggestive material 
for philosophical inference and elucidation. How early and 
in what manner the nearest points of contact between America 
and the rest of the world, in the far northwest, were first 
crossed at Behring^s Straits, gives room for bold conjecture : 
ethnologists, archaeologists, and antiquarians have broached 
numerous theories and established curious facts to prove that 
the "new world" of Columbus was known and partially 
colonized long before that intrepid navigator heard the 
thriUing cry of " land ! *' from the mast head of the Pinta : 
not only those primitive explorers the Chinese and Japanese, 
but the ancient Phoenicians, Norman colonists from Greenland, 
Irish saints, and Russian overland expeditions have been con- 
fidently traced and sometimes authenticated. Naturalists 
have, with subtile knowledge, pointed out how the secret of 
another continent was whispered by the voice of Nature, seeds 
borne on the currents of the air, and plants on those of the 
sea ; scholars have culled from old Latin and Italian poets 
intimations of the existence of a hemisphere unexplored ; and 
ingenious observers have appealed to stone hearths, like those 
of Denmark, found at Cape Cod, moss-grown clefts in aged 
trees, brass arrow heads, and copper axes, to evidence a long- 
lost colony. 

The Icelandic navigators are supposed to have made voy- 
ages to Vinland, on the southern coast of New England, five 
centuries before Columbus. The Welsh, too, claim a share in 
this remote exploration of America. In the preface to his 
poem of " Madoc," Southey says of the hero, he " abandoned 
his barbarous country, and sailed away to the west, in search 
of some better resting place. The land which he discovered 


pleased him ; he left there part of his people, and went back 
to Wales for a fresh supply of adventurers, with whom he 
again set sail, and was heard of no more. Strong evidence 
has been adduced that he reached America, and that his pos- 
terity exist there to this day.*' And a venerable scholar, of 
our own country, observes that 

"Madoc is stated to have been a son of Owen Gwynedd, Prince, 
or, as he is often styled, King of Wales. His father^s death is assigned 
to the year 1169, and the commencoinen.t of his own voyage to the 
succeeding year. I quote an authority which Las apparently been 
overlooked, in citing Warrington's History of Wales. He writes : 
' About this time [1170] Madoc, seeing the contention which agitated 
the fiery spirit of his brothers, with a courage equal to theirs, but far 
'more liberally directed, gave himself up to the danger and uncertainty 
of seas hitherto unexplored. He is said to have embarked with a few 
ships ; sailing west, and leaving Ireland to the north, ho traversed 
the ocean till he arrived by accident upon the coast of America. 
Pleased with its appearance, he left there a great part of his people, 
and returning for a fresh supply, he was joined by many adventurers, 
both men and women ; who, encouraged by a flattering description 
of that country, and sick of the disorders which reigned in their own, 
wore desirous of seeking an asylum in the wilds of America.' 

" Some, indeed, have regarded the whole subject as unworthy of 
investigation. But when wo perceive it asserted, that individuals 
have seen in the possession of Indians, as we call them, books or rolls 
written on parchment, and carefhlly wrapped up, though they could 
not be read ; and the people who possessed them, though but a frag- 
ment of our Indian population, showing a fairer skin than the ordi- 
nary tribes, and hair and beard, occasionally, of reddish color — we 
must think the subject worth some further inquiry ; and I cannot 
but express the hope that the inquiry may be pursued." * 

Carl Christian Rafn, a Danish archaeologist, in his work on 
American antiquities, published at Copenhagen in 1837, en- 
deavors to prove that America was not only discovered by 
the Scandinavians in the tenth, but that during the four suc- 
ceeding centuries they made frequent voyages thither, and 

* " Address before the American Antiquarian Society, at their Annual 
Meeting, October, 1868," by Rev. William Jenks, D. D. 


bsd settlements in what is now Massachusetts and Rhode 

Ayailmg himself of these researches, our eminent country- 
man Henry Wheaton enriched his " History of the Norti- 
men " — ^a work, like the author's Treatise on International Law, 
of European reputation — the fruit of studies carried on in the 
midst of important and admirably fulfilled diplomatic duties. 

Alexander von Humboldt, on his way from Mexico via 
Cuba, arrived at Philadelphia in 1804, and was cordially re- 
ceived at Washington by Jefferson ; his sojourn in the United 
States, however, was quite brief: of his views in regard to 
the ancient memorials found in the American continents the 
historian Prescott observes: '^Humboldt is a true philoso- 
pher, divested of local and national prejudices; like most 
truly learned men, he is cautious and modest in his deductions, 
and though he assembles very many remarkable coincidences 
between the Old World and the New, in their institutions, 
notions, habits, etc., yet he does not infer that the New 
World was peopled from the Old, much less from one par- 
ticular nation, as most rash speculators have done." * 

From the vague but romantic conjecture of the Egyptian 
legend which Plato repeated in regard to the island of At- 
lantis, to the dim traditions which place the wonderful Vinland 
of the Scandinavian navigators on the shores of Labrador ; 
from the mysterious charm that invested the newly discovered 
isles of the tropics and found immortal expression in Shak- 
speare's Tempest, to the curious ethnological speculations which 
recognize in the ancient mounds of the Mississippi valley rel- 
ics of a civilization anterior to the American Indians ; from 
the fabulous lures, like the fountain of youth, that attracted 
Southern Europeans to Florida, to the stern crises of opinion 
which drove English Puritans to the bleak coast of New Eng- 
land — ^the earliest descriptions of and associations with the 
country, now known as the United States of America, are deep- 
ly tinctured with visionary legends and traditional fables ; to 

• Ticknor's "Life of Prescott," p. 165. 


extricate which from the substratum of truth and fact, is a 
hopeless attempt. Nor, despite the exploded theories which 
found in certain rocks and structures evidences of the North- 
men's sojourn, and the symbolical science which seems par- 
tially to unite the trophies of ancient sepulchres with the East- 
em races — are we averse to leave unanalyzed the vast and 
mysterious region of inquiry outside of authentic history ; let 
it remain in vague extent and dreamy suggestiveness — the 
domain of limitless possibilities to the philosopher, and of ro- 
mantic suggestiveness to the poet. 

Even the imaginative charm that belongs to this myth- 
ical era, yields to one scarcely less attractive, when the Amer- 
ican traveller remembers, at St. Malo, that the intrepid Car- 
tier thence sailed to discover the St. Lawrence, or inspects with 
a deeper feeling than curiosity the letters of Verrazzano, still 
preserved in the library at Florence, wherein he describes the 
coast of Carolina and the harbors of New York and Newport 
in all their virgin solitude ; and recalls at Bristol the primitive 
expeditions of the Cabots. 

It is sufficient, indeed, for the inquirer who aims to dis- 
cern and illustrate the actual resoiirces, development, and pros- 
pects of the country, to begin with the first authentic descrip- 
tions of the mainland by the old navigators who, in that era 
of maritime enterprise, visited so many points of the coast 
toward the close of the fifteenth and the early part of the 
sixteenth century. 

When we consider what geography was in the hands of 
Strabo and Pliny, and what the literature of travel was when 
Columbus discovered the West Indies,* Cabot Labrador, and 

* San Domingo has been well named " the vestibule of American discovery 
and colonization ;" that island having long been the headquarters and rendez- 
vous of Columbus, and the scene of his first success and subsequent misfor* 
times : it was thither that the animals and plants originally introduced to this 
country from Europe were brought ; there was the first white colony established 
on this side of the Atlantic ; and there, at present, seems to be the most flour- 
ishing and promising free negro population. A full and interesting account of 
this island, whose future is fraught with interest, was recently read before the 
N. Y. Geographical Society, and is published by G. P. Putnam, of New York. 


ITespacci gave a name to this continent — instead of wonder- 
ing at the meagre details and extravagant generalities of those 
primitiye accounts of the New World, we should rather congrat- 
ulate ourselves on the amount and kind of authentic material 
which Navarette collected and arranged and Irving gracefully 
elaborated in his Life of the Discoverer of America. It is 
quite an abrupt transition from the glowing fables that im- 
mediately precede the first chapter of our regular history, to 
perceive and admit the fact that " shoals of cod " really estab- 
lished the earliest practical mutual interest between Europe 
and America ; and that the Newfoundland fisheries formed the 
original nucleus whereby originated the extraordinary emi- 
gration which, from that day to the present, has continued to 
people this hemisphere with the representatives of every race, 
country, and lineage of Europe. The old navigators were the 
pioneers — Spanish and Portuguese ; in 1512, Ponce de Leon 
commenced his romantic quest in the Bahamas ; eight years 
later, Magellan finished the demonstration Columbus began, 
by circunmavigating the globe ; in 1524, the Florentine mar- 
iner Verrazzauo anchored in the bay of New York ; in 1528, 
Narvaez was in Florida; in 1539, De Soto discovered the 
Mississippi ; in 1540, France commenced the colonization of 
the country around the St. Lawrence, and in 1606 was 
granted the first charter of Virginia; in 1610, the Dutch 
began to trade with the aborigines of the Hudson ; and in 
1620, the "Maj-flower" arrived at Plymouth. 

For a long period, when the fisheries of Newfoundland 
were the only attraction and the chief promise to European 
adventure, the whole country was spoken of and written 
about by a French appellative signifying codfish ; and during 
another era, Florida, the name given to their southern settle- 
ment by the Spaniards, was applied to the whole extent of the 
coast ; while Virginia, whereby the Jamestown colony was 
called from the Virgin Queen, whose favorite Raleigh was 
patentee thereof, designated an indefinite extent of coimtry, 
and on the old maps and in the current parlance stood for 
America to Englishmen : a German writer laments that one 


of those names was not retained as national — ^instead of being 
confined to a sbgle State ; arguing their better adaptation to 
indicate a flourishing and a virgin land than the vague terms 
America and the United States. One reason why a citizen of 
the latter is so often startled at the ignorance of rustics and 
provincials on the Continent, in confounding North and South 
America, is that the products of the latter, some of which are 
in prevalent use in Europe^ are known merely as American 

The decadence of Spain and the growth of England are 
intimately associated with the settlement of America. The 
introduction from the latter country into Europe of the 
potato, maize, and tobacco, has exerted an influence and pro- 
duced results far transcending the more obvious economical 
consequences. Upon maritime enterprise and interests, in- 
cluding both legal and scientific progress, the discovery and 
settlement of the New World produced effects incalculable. 
While the priests and the fur traders who explored Canada 
achieved little beyond the local and often temporary establish- 
ment of depots, forts, and chapels, and left in the memory 
of Champlain a foreign tradition rather than a fresh national 
development, the colonization of the Atlantic slope embodied 
and conserved a new political development, and identified the 
country with progressive industry, religious toleration, free 
citizenship, educational privileges, and an economical rule. 
Newfoundland became a school for English seamen ; New 
Belgium preser\'ed and propagated the social enfranchise- 
ment and instinct of liberty wrested in the Netherlands from 
the cruel despotism of Spain ; French Protestants found scope 
and safety in the Carolinas, and English Puritans a bleak but 
vital realm in New England. 

Those formidable-looking folios in old Latin type, and 
with the imprint of Venice or Amsterdam, dear to anti- 
quarians, wherein the old navigators, through some medieval 
scholar's pen, registered for tlie future bibliopole and histo- 
rian the journal of their American voyages, constitute the first 
records of travel there, although mamly devoted to descrip* 


tions of the coast and adjacent waters. These now rare tomes 
are curious from their quaint antiquity — ^the combination of 
&ct and fiction, statements which are confirmed to-day by the 
measurement of bays and the aspect of nature, and fabulous 
exaggerations obviously bom of honest credulity or super- 
stitious faith — and according, in their obsolete wonderment, 
with the primitive style and appearance of the venerable 
books. Very curious also are the illustrations which repre 
sent, in stiff and artificial designs, the fields of maize and 
tobacco and the Indian games and ceremonials which form 
Uie marvellous but monotonous features of those first 
glimpses which the Old World obtained of the New. De Bry's 
Ck>Uection of Voyages and Travels to America, comprised in 
parts, and printed in folio at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1690, 
is the most copious repertory of these ancient records. Flor- 
ida and Virginia are described as ^^ gardens of the desert," 
and the heroes of romance cluster around the narrative of 
their partially explored resources, new products, and myste- 
rious natives. 

Most venerable of all, however, is the " Imago Mundi " of 
Petrus de Alyaco that inspired Columbus, of which Irving 

" Being at Seville, and making researches in the Bibliotheca Colum- 
bina, the library given by Fernando Oolnmbus to the cathedral of 
the city, I came accidentally upon the above-mentioned copy of the 
work of Peter Aliaco. It is an old volume in folio, bound in parch- 
ment, pablished soon after the invention of printing, containing a 
collection in Latin of astronomical and cosmographical tracts of Pedro 
de Aliaco and of his disciple John Gerson. Aliaco was the author of 
many works, and one of the most learned and ingenious men of his 
day. Las Casas is of opinion that his writings had more effect in 
stimulating Columbus to the enterprise than those of any other author. 
His work was so familiar to Columbus that he had filled its whole 
margin with Latin notes, in his handwriting, citing many tilings 
which he had read and gathered elsewhere. ' This book, which was 
very old,' continues Las Casas, * I had many times in my hands, and 
I drew some things from it, written in Latin, by the said Admiral 
Christopher Columbus, to verify certain points appertaining to his 
history, of which I before was in doubt.' " 


Then, among others, there is a " General Description of 
America," by P. d'A^dty (Paris, 1637) ; " News from Amer- 
ica " (Rouen, 1678) ; " De Vries's Voyage ; " the famous " Re- 
lation of Virginia" (1615), and many other local treatises and 
more or less authentic accounts written to beguile adventur- 
ers, celebrate discoveries, or ventilate controversy respecting 
the boundless land of promise to military and religious, polit- 
ical and rapacious adventure. Many, and characteristic, too, 
were these early memorials of New England colonization, 
tinged with the religious element so largely developed in her 
primitive annals ; as, for instance, " New England Judged by 
the Spirit of the Lord" (1061) ; " 111 News from New Eng^ 
land, by John Clarke, of Rhode Island ; " " The New-England 
Canaan" (Amsterdam, 1632). The Spanish Voyageurs ; the 
memorials of Raleigh, De Soto, La Salle— of John Smith, 
Ponce de Leon, Oglethorpe, Winthrop, Roger Williams, 
Hendrik Hudson — and, in short, of the pioneers in conquest, 
colonization, and civilization, whether religious, agricultural, 
or administrative, furnish a mine of description, more or less • 
curious, whereby the original aspect, indigenous products, and 
theoretical estimates of America may be learned in part, and 
inferred from or compared with later and more complete 
explorations and reports. A vast number of works devoted 
to this country appeared duiing the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries ; and they attest tlie historical development incident 
to the discovery of America and the reaction of colonization 
there upon European civilization ; but the legitimate literature 
of travel, as we understand it, in the New World, was initiated 
by the French missionaries. 

In the venerable records of maritime discovery and ex- 
ploration, the fabulous and the authentic are curiously blended. 
One of the earliest collectors of these quaint and valuable data 
was Richard Hakluyt, an English prebendary, bom in London 
in 1653. His love of nautical science and passion for geo- 
graphical research made the acquisition of an original journal 
of one of those adventurous mariners who first visited any 
part of this continent or other half-explored region of the 


earth a precious experience. Hakluyt was educated at West- 
minster school and Oxford ; he corresponded with the most 
famous living geographers of his day — such as Ortelius and 
tfercator. A residence of five years in Paris as chaplain to 
the British embassy, gave him excellent opportunities for the 
prosecution of his favorite studies on the Continent; and 
these were enlarged on his return to England, when Sir Wal- 
ter Raleigh appointed him one of the counsellors, assistants, 
and adventurers to whom he assigned his patent for the pros- 
ecution of discoveries in America. To him we owe the pres- 
ervation of numerous origmal accounts of English maritime 
enterprise. Hallam remarks that the best map of the six- 
teenth century is to be found in a few copies of the first edition 
of Hakluy t^s Voyages. John Locke says of the work that it 
IB ** valuable for the good there to be picked out." He was 
encouraged in his labors by Walsingham and Sidney. Few 
documentary annalists have rendered better service to our 
pnmitive history than Hakluyt ; his publications made known 
the discoveries of his countrymen, and, by disseminating the 
facts in regard to America, encouraged colonization. He 
translated from the French, in 1587, " Foure Voyages unto 
Florida by Captain Londonniere," and an improved edition of 
Peter Martyr's work, " De Novo Orbe ; " but his most cele- 
brated work is " The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traf- 
fiques, and Discoveries of the Englisli Nation, made by sea or 
over land, within the compass of 1,500 years." The first edi- 
tion is extremely rare; but an enlarged one appeared in 
1598, the third part of which contains a history of expedi- 
tions to North America and the West Indies. His papers, at 
his decease, became the property of Rev. Samuel Purchas, 
who, in 1613, published that curious work, " Purchas, his 
Pilgrim," two volumes of which form a continuation of Hak- 
luyt's Voyages. From these sources may be gleaned some 
of the earliest authentic descriptions of America. In regard 
to the indigenous products, the geography, and some details 
of aboriginal character and customs, we recognize the honest 
intention of the brave pioneer navigators ; but their credu- 


lity and often their lively imagination are equally apparent, and 
the style and comments of Purchas sometimes add to the 
incongruous result. An eminent writer has justly defined 
these collections of Hakluyt and Purchas as " very curious 
monuments of the nature of human enterprises, human testi- 
mony, and of human affitirs. Much more is, indeed, offered to 
a refined and philosophic observer, though buried amid the 
unwieldy and unsightly mass, than was ever supposed by its 
original readers or by its first compilers." ♦ 

A very curious relic of these primitive annals of discovery 
has been renewed to modem readers by Conway Robinson, 
who so ably prepared "for the Virginia Historical Society an 
"Account of Voyages along the Atlantic Coast of North 
America, 1620-1673;" and a not less curious antiquarian 
memorial of old times, in that State, was printed for the Hak- 
luyt Society, "The Historic of Travaile in Virginia Brit- 
tanica." Of late years every authentic document emanating 
from or relating to Columbus, Vespucius, Cabot, Drake, Hud- 
son, La Haye, Champlain, and other discoverers and explor- 
ers, has been, by the judicious liberality of historical and anti- 
quarian societies, or by private enterprise, reproduced, col- 
lated, and sometimes printed in fac-simile, so that the means 
of tracing the original ideas and experience of the old navi- 
gators have been made accessible to studious comparison and 
inquiry ; and, in addition to such facilities, the jealousy of 
European Governments in regard to their archives has, with 
the growth of intelligence and the love of science, become 
essentially modified, so that charts, journals, conunissions, 
original data of all kinds, relating to early explorations, have 
been and are freely and sagaciously consulted by geographical 
and historical scholars.f 

• " Lectures on Modem History," by Prof. Smythe. 

f Among other important collections — ^besides those of De Bry, Hakluyt, 
Purchas, and De Vriea — may be mentioned that by Murray (Lond. 18S9), 
and Temaux-Compan's "Voyages, Relations et Memoirs Originaux pour 
flervir a histoire de la decouverte de TAmerique," in ten vols. ; and " Ameri- 
oa, bmg the latest and most accurate description of the New World, &a, 


There is an absence of details in most of these early 
chronicles, which indicates but a superficial and limited explo- 
ration, such as the dangers and difficulties adequately explain. 
Yet sufficient is recorded to afford materials for the his- 
torian and the naturalist, who aim at fixmg the ^ time and 
indicating the original aspect of those portions of the conti- 
nent that were first visited by Europeans, and have since be- 
come, through the early appreciation of their natural advan- 
tages, the centre of prosperous civilization. Thus, in Van 
der Dock's account of New Netherlands in 1659, he describes 
the rigors of winter on the coast, the numerous whales that 
frequented the then lonely waters where is now congregated 
the shipping of the world, and mentions the fact that two of 
these leviathans in 1647 grounded forty miles up the river, 
and infected the air for miles with the effluvia of their de- 
composition. The abundance and superior quality of the 03rs- 
ters, the wild strawberries, the maize, grapes, hazelnuts, 
sheephead and sturgeons, are noted with the appreciative em- 
phasis of a Dutch epicure ; and that is a memorable picture 
to the visitor at Albany to-day, which presents to his mind's 
eye Hendrik Hudson receiving tobacco, beans, and otter and 
beaver skins from the natives, environed by a dense forest. 

Of the primitive reports of colonial explorers and settlers, 
none has so vivid a personal interest as that of Captain 
John Smith : the romantic story of Pocahontas alone embahns 
his name. Sent out by the London Company in 1606, his party 
landed at Jamestown on the 13th of May of that year ; he 
returned to England in 1609, and five years afterward ex- 
plored the coast of America from the Penobscot to Cape Cod. 
In 1615, ha\dng commenced another voyage, he was made 
prisoner by the French, and did not succeed, on regaining his 
liberty, in securing occupation again in American exploration, 
although he sought it with earnestness. Captain Smith died in 
London in 1631. His " True Travels, Adventures, and Obser- 
vations" was published in 1629. His map, tract on Virginia, 

collected from the most authentic authors, and adorned with maps and scalp- 
tore, by John Ogilby," folio, London, 1676. 


and " Description of New England," attest his claims to a better 
recompense than he received : " In neither of these two conn^ 
tries," he writes, " have I one foot of land, nor the very house 
I boilded, nor the gromid I digged with my own hands, nor 
any content or satisfaction at all." The original editions of 
Smith's several works relating to America are very rare: 
some of them have been reprinted in historical collections. 
His most extensive work is " The General History of Vir- 
ginia, New England, and the Summer Isles," prepared at the 
request of the London Company, and illustrated with portraits 
and maps. The period described is from 1584 to 1626. 
These writings are curious rather than satisfactory ; valuable 
as records of pioneer experience and memorials of the early 
settiements : they were written to inform, and in their day 
were of great practical value; but, except for aboriginal 
details and geographical facts, their authority and interest 
have long been superseded. Yet no American can look upon 
the old church of St. Sepulchre in London, where Captain 
John Smith was buried, without recalling that intrepid charac- 
ter, and associating it with the early fortunes of his native 
land. It is characteristic of this remarkable man that his 
favorite authors, when a youth, were Macchiavelli's " Art of 
War," and the Maxims of Antoninus — two books, says the last 
and best translator of the latter, admirably fitted to form the 
character of a soldier and a man.* He describes the animals, 
vegetables, soil, and rivers with quaint and brief eulogium 
— declaring Virginia "the poor man's best countrie in the 
worid." t 

Among these primitive travels is a small quarto in anti- 
quated type, entitled " America Painted to the Life, by Fer- 

• George Long. 

f " The Gcncrall Historic of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles, 
with the names of the Adventurers, Planters, and Govemours, from their first 
beginning, anno 1684, to this present 1626. With the proceedings of those 
BCYcrall Colonies and the accidents that befell them in all their journeys and 
discoYcries. Also the Maps and descriptions of all those countryes, their com- 
modities, people, government, customes, and religion yet knowne. Divided 
into sixe bookes.'^ Folio, pp. 148, engraved title and one map, London, 1682. 


oando Gorges, Esq.," published in London in 1649.* The 
inthor says, " all that part of the continent of New England 
which was allotted by patent to my grandfather, Sir Ferdi- 
nand Gorges and his heires, he thought fit to call by the name 
of the province of Maine," which, we are told, then extended 
from the Penobscot to the Hudson ; and was rented for two 
shillings per annum the hundred acres. Sir Fernando ex- 
pended twenty thousand pounds in his American enterprises. 
The work by his grandson, descriptive thereof, contains the 
usual details as to products, politics, sects, and Indians : an 
allusion to a feast of the latter would seem to indicate an early 
origin for the famous pudding called huckleberry. The occa- 
sion was a council, to which the Boston magistrates were 
invited. ^^ The Indian king, hearing of their coming, gath 
ered together his counsellors and a great number of his sub- 
jects to give them entertainment ; " — the materials of which 
are described thus : ^' boiled chestnuts in their white bread, 
which is very sweet, as if they were mixed with sugar — and, 
because they would be extraordinary in the feasting, they 
strove for variety after the English manner, boyling puddings 
made of beaten come, putting therein great store of black ber- 
ries somewhat like currants." A quaint and compendious 
account is given of the firgt settlement of Springfield, in Mas- 
sachusetts — the few facts related giving a vivid idea of the 
economical and social condition of that now flourishing town, 
in 1645. " About this time, one Mr. Pinchin, sometime a 
magistrate, having, by desire to better his estate, settled him- 

* '* At the same time, Sir Ferdinand Gorges was gathering mformation of the 
SAtiTe Americans, whom he had received at Wejmouth, and whose descrip- 
tions of the country, joined to the favorable views which he had already im- 
bibed, filled him with the strongest desire of becoming a proprietary of domains 
beyond the Atlantic." — Bancroft's Hittory of the United States^ vol. i. 

When, in 1643, the commissioners from Plymouth, New Haven, Say 
brook, &C., assembled at Boston, *' being all desirous of union and studious of 
peace," none of " Sir Ferdinand Gorges, his province beyond Piscataqua, 
were received nor called into the confederation, because they ran a different 
course from us, both in their niiuistry and civil government." — Wikthrop's 


Belf very remote from all the churches of Chrigt in the Massa- 
chusetts Govermnent, upon the river of Conectico, yet under 
their government, he having some godly persons resorting 
unto him, they erected a town and church of Christ, calling it 
Springfield ; it lying on this large navigable river, hath the 
benefit of transporting their goods by water, and also fitly 
seated for a bever trade with the Indians, till the merchants 
increased so many, that it became little worth by reason of 
their outbuying one another, which caused them to live upon 
husbandry. This town is mostly built along the river side 
and upon some little rivulets of the same. There hath of late 
been more than one or two in this town greatly suspected of 
witchery." Here we have the pious and shrewd motives of 
the early settlers, the initiation of free trade and their primi- 
tive political economy, and superstition quaintly hinted. How 
curious to compare the picture of that little town and church 
so " very remote " from others in the colony, the " bever 
trade with the Indians," and the destructive rivalry therein — 
the lonely river in the midst of the wilderness, and the godly 
pioneer who came there " to better his estate," and the " sus- 
picions of witchery " — with the populous, bustling scene of 
railway travel, manufactures, horse fairs, churches, schools, 
trade, and rural prosperity, now ^aily familiar to hundreds 
of travellers. 

It is remarkable how some of these obsolete records link 
themselves with the interests and the questions of the passing 
liour. What more appropriate commentary, for instance, 
upon the provincial egotism of Virginia, can be imagined 
than the statement of Childs, a man of authority in his day, 
in England, that while some cavaliers found refuge there, 
many of the colonists were outcasts, and their emigration the 
alternative for imprisonment or penal exile ? 

One of the most suggestive and authentic records whence 
we derive a true idea of the social tendencies and the natural 
phenomena amid which the American character was bred in 
the Eastern States is the journal of John Winthrop. Its very 
monotony reflects the severe routine of life then and there ; 


religion enters into and modifies domestio retirement and 
indiyidoal impulse; the rigors of nnsubdued nature in a 
northern climate are painfully manifest : we learn how isola- 
tion, strict oversight, and ecclesiastical rule, the necessity of 
labor and the alternations of extreme temperature discipUned 
and dwarfed, purified and hardened, elevated and narrowed 
the associations and instincts of humanity. What a vivid 
glimpse of life two hundred years ago in New England do 
the brief notes of the first Governor of Massachusetts afford 
us, and how easy thence to deduce the characteristics and the 
history of those remarkable communities, explain their pecu- 
liarities, and justify their tenacious traits I Take a few ran- 
dom extracts by way of illustration : 

Ifav, 15, 1687. — A day of thanksgiving for the victory obtained over 

the Peqnods. 
Mar. 7, 1688. — Mrs. Hutchenson, being removed to the Isle of Aqnid- 
ney, was delivered of a monstrous birth : Mr. Cotton hereupon 
gathered it might signify her error in denying inherent righteous- 
A woman was judged to be whipped for reproaching the magistrates. 
Mar, 1, 1688. — A printing house was begun at Cambridge by one 

charged with taking above sixpence in the shilling profit. 

Mar. 10, 1689.— At the General Court an order was made to abolish 

that vain custom of drinking one to another. 
In this winter, in a close calm day, there fell down diverse flakes of 

snow of this form « , very thin, and exactly pointed as art would 

have cut them in paper. 
Sep, 20, 1630.— The wolves killed six calves at Salem. 
May 13, 1632. — The French came in a pinnace to Penobscott and 

rifled a tracking house belonging to Plimouth, carrying away 

three hundred weight of beaver. 
KoT, 5. — The congregation at Watertown discharged elder for 

intemperance in speech. 
Jan. 17. — A servant of Mr. Skelton lost her way, and was several 

days in the woods, and half frozen. 
June 1, 1633.— A Scotchman by prayer and fasting dispossessed one 

possessed of the devil. 

Droughts, freshets, meteors, intense cold and heat, terrific 
storms, calm beautiful days, conflagrations, epidemics, Indian 


massacres, alternate in the record with constant church trials, 
reprimands and controversies, public whippings and memor- 
able sermons, occasional and long-desired arriyals from Eng- 
land, the establishment of a college and printing press, local 
emigrations and perilous adventure ; wherein bigotry and the 
highest fortitude, superstitions and acute logic, privation and 
cheer Ad toil, social despotism and individual rectitude indicate 
a rare and rigid school of life and national development. 

Among the first colonial tributes of the muse descriptive 
of the New World was " New England's Prospect," a true, 
living, and experimental description of that part of America 
commonly called New England, by William Wood. It was 
published in London in 1635. The author lived four years in 
the region he pictures, and states in the preface to his metrical 
tract his intention to return there. He gives a rhymed ac- 
count of the colony's situation, and dilates upon the habits of 
the aborigines. The scene of the poem is Boston and its vicin- 
ity, and the versified catalogue of indigenous trees is interest- 
ing, as probably the first record of the kind. " Cheerful Wil- 
liam Wood " tells us, in delineating the country along the Mer- 
rimack, that 

" Trees both in hills and plains in plenty be, 
The long-lived oak and mournful cypris tree, 
Sky-towering pines and chestnuts coated rough, 
The lasting cedar, with the walnut tough : 
The rosin-dropping fir for masts in use ; 
The boatman seeks for oares light, neat-growne sprewse ; 
The brittle ashe, the ever trembling aspcs, 
The broad-spread elm whose concave harbors wasps, 
The wator-springie alder, good for nought," 

&c., <fcc. A more elaborate attempt at a primitive natural his- 
tory of the same region is " New England's Rarities Discov- 
ered," by John Jossel>Ti, published in 1 672. The first explorer 
of the Alleghanies, John Lederer, wrote in Latin an account 
of " Three several Marches from Virginia to the West of Caro- 
lina and other parts of the Continent, begone in March, 1669, 
and ended in September, 1670." Sir William Talbot made 
and published an English translation in 1672. The Westover 
Manuscripts, published by Edmund Ruffin, of Virginia, in 


1841, describe ezpeditioiis conducted by William Byrd, in 
1728, wherein much carious information of Southern life, 
lesoorces, and manners, at that period, is given. 

GoTemor Bradford, who succeeded Carver as chief magis- 
trate of the Plymouth Colony, left also a poetical description 
of New England — ^which, though a fragment, is a singular 
literary relic of those days — ^the aspect of the country and 
^spirit of the Pilgrims." But a better known and more 
copious as well as quaint memorial of colonial life in the old 
Bay State, and one which Hawthorne has evidently pondered 
to advantage, is to be found in the theories of Cotton Mather, 
illustrated as they are by the facts of his career and the inci- 
dental local and personal details of the ^^ Magnalia : " although 
it appeared in London printed in folio in 1702, not until 1820 
was it republished in America. Odd, credulous, learned, 
speculative, narrow, and anecdotical, this and his other books 
reflect the times and country. 

There lived in Medford, Mass., more than a century ago, 
a clergyman's daughter and wife, Jane Turrel, who wrote 
graceful and feeling verses, some of which have been pre- 
served as early specimens of the New England muse. In one 
of her pieces, called " An Invitation to the Country," she 
enumerates the fruits and other delicacies with which she pro- 
poses to regale the expected guest ; and we learn therefrom 
that one indigenous product of the woods, now only found at 
a distance from the scene, was then a familiar luxury : 

The blnshing peach and glossy plnm there lies, 
And with the mandrake tempt yonr hands and eyes. 

A class of publications, which belong neither to the de- 
partment of travels nor memoirs, but which contain many im- 
portant and specific facts and comments in regard to the origi- 
nal aspect, resources, and character of the country, while yet 
a colonial territory, remains to be noticed. These are the 
various publications descriptive, statistical, and controversial, 
which motives of interest and curiosity elicited from the 
early emigrants, agents, and official representatives of the 


different colonies. They are chiefly in the form of tracts : 
many of them crude and quaint in style, inadequate and desul- 
tory ; some obviously inspired by the hope of alluring emi- 
gration ; others suggested by a spirit of rivalry between the 
different settlements ; some are- honestly descriptive, others 
absurdly exaggerated ; the theological and political questions 
of the day, whether local or administrative, gave birth to 
countless writings ; most of them are curious, some valuable 
from their details and authenticity, and others as unique illus- 
trations of history and manners : passages might be gleaned 
from not a few of these ancient brochures^ which would favor- 
ably compare with more elaborate works written by educated 
travellers in America. The greater part of these now rare 
and costly literary relics of our country at the dawn of and 
immediately subsequent to its civilization, refer to Virginia 
and New England ; next in number are those devoted to 
Florida ; the tracts which discuss and describe the Carolinas, 
Maryland, and Pennsylvania being comparatively few ; while 
those that refer to Canada are multifarious. These primitive 
records of colonization often yield invaluable hints to the 
philosopher and historian ; although a vast proportion of 
them have lost their significance, and are more attractive to 
the bibliopole and the antiquarian than the general reader. 
In the form of letters, appeals, protests, advertisements, pic- 
turesque or economical narratives, such incidental records not 
unfrequently conserve an incident, a law, a fact of nature or 
government, of natural, political, or social history, that has a 
permanent interest. Buckminster early called attention to 
the importance of preserving every publication relating to 
America, however apparently trivial, as a resource for his- 
torians; and societies and individuals have since emulated 
each other in the purchase and collection of these scattered 

As early as 1547 there was printed an account of the 

* One of the most remarkable private coUecUons \& that of John Carter 
Brown, of Providence, R. I., whoso library contains over five thousand pnbli- 
cations relating to America, all of a date anterior to 1800, bound, lettered, 
and classified in the most convenient manner. 


"Medical Substances discovered in America;" and a nar- 
rative of the deeds and habits of the once formidable bucca- 
neers, who infested the coast (and the traditions regarding 
whom gave the elder Dana a sitbject which he treated with 
effective interest in an elaborate poem), was published in 
1685 : ten years later we find a calalogue of American 
plants ; and the query of a native poet in enumerating the 
subjects of permanent curiosity as yet unsatisfied — "Did 
Israel's missing tribes find refuge here ? " — was partially an- 
swered in 1661, by a treatise on " The Jews in America." 
Numerous publications relating to the fisheries indicate at 
how early a date that branch of native economy assumed 
important relations in the eyes of Europeans, while such 
titles of current tracts as " On the Scheme of Sending Bish- 
ops to America," and " The Present Disposition of English, 
Soots, and Irish to Emigrate " thither, suggest how early the 
national tendencies of the colonies were regarded as sig- 
nificant of future political results. In 1789, when their 
character and destiny had grown formidable and definite, 
more general speculations occupied British writers, and an 
essay of that year discusses the " Influence of the Discovery 
of America on the Happiness of Mankind." Indeed, we have 
but to glance over any catalogue of publications relating to 
this country to perceive that the theme has afibrded a con- 
venient pretext, if not a special motive, to treat of almost 
every subject connected with political, religious, and social 
interests : printing, witchcraft, revivals, trade, currency, in- 
oculation, meteors, unitarianism, and agriculture, alternate in 
the list with tracts on natural history, the fur trade, expedi- 
tions, and accounts of Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, French, 
and English settlements ; until those brief and special gave 
place to more complex and generalized views, wherein Amer- 
ica is " dissected by a divine," " compared with England," 
and made the subject of " summary views " and " surveys," 
" sketches," " random shots," " recollections," and criticism 
of all kinds and degrees of perspicacity and prejudice. It is 
seldom, even when such works had multiplied incalculably, 
that the authors write under a nom de plume ; but there are 


exceptions, as the Lettres Anonymous of ^ Rubio," ^ J. M. B," 
" A Citizen of Edinburgh,'' " A Rugbean," " New Englander,** 
« Southron,** " Yankee," " Fur Trader,** etc 

To no single individual will the seeker for original me- 
morials of American civilization, nationality, and development 
recognize higher obligations than to the venerable, assiduous, 
and disinterested Peter Force, of Washington, whose ^^ Nation- 
al Calendar and Annals of the United States*' (1820-*d6), and 
whose ^ Tracts and Papers, Relating to the Origin, Settle- 
ment, and Progress of the Colonies in North America, from 
the Discovery of the Country to the Year 177B ** (1886-*46), 
are a mine of precious and peerless historical materials, as a 
glance at the contents of the collections and of those not yet 
published will satisfy the reader. It is true that most of 
these tracts and documents refer to matters of govemmenti 
polity, and public events, and can be rarely classed under the 
literature of travel, yet many of them incidentally indude 
its most desirable features, and some of tl^em are ^ descrip- 
tions,'* " relations,** " narratives,** and " accounts,** which, in 
their homely details and quaint sincerity, bring out the life, 
the manners, and the physical aspect of Georgia and Massa- 
chusetts, Maryland and Carolina, Virginia and New England, 
in the earliest colonial times, qmte in the spirit of the old 
travellers. The enthusiasm and perseverance whereby was 
realized the great enterprise of collecting and preserving for 
future generations these inestimable memorials of the Past of 
America, are unprecedented in this country as an example of 
intelligent and self-devoted patriotism.* . 

* Quite an ekborate sketch of the ** HLstory of Discorery in Americt, 
from Coltunbiis to Franklin," has recently appeared in Germany, from the 
pen of that intelligent and indefatigable aathor of ralnable books of travd, J. 
G. KohL The work is confessedly incomplete and somewhat desultory, but 
fall of interesting facts and speculations. A translation, by Miyor R. R. Nod, 
was published in London early in the present year. *' American Archires : 
consisting of a collection of authentic records, state papers, debates, and let- 
ten and other notices of public affairs, the whole forming a Documentary Hi»- 
toiy cf the Origin and Progress of the North American Coloniee ; of the 
caoBes and accomplishmoit of the American Revolution ; and of the consti- 
tntion of goremment for the United States to the final ratification thereof** 



Long after the Crusades, a spirit of adventure and a love 
of travel animated men whom religious faith or ecclesiastical 
influence dedicated to the priesthood. That vocation pre- 
sented the two extremes of contemplative and active life; 
Kid where the temperament and the enthusiasm or intelligent 
coriofiity of the monk made him impatient of routine or a 
limited sphere, it was easy to become a missionary, and thus 
combine religious ministrations with the experience of travel. 
Accordingly, some of the earliest reports of the physical re- 
sources of the New World were made to the Old, by Catho- 
lic missionaries ostensibly braving its unexplored domain to 
win the aboriginal inhabitants to Christianity, but now often, 
remembered chiefly as the pioneer writers of American travels. 
The avidity with which information in regard to this con- 
tinent was sought in Europe, immediately antecedent and 
subsequent to its colonization — the interest felt in the natural 
wonders and possible future of an immense, productive and 
uncivilized country — the arena it afforded to baffled enter- 
prise, the asylum it promised to the persecuted, the resources 
it offered the poor — the conquest it invited from regal power 
and individual prowess — the vague charm with which it 
inspired the imaginative, and the fresh material it yielded so 
abundantly to the votaries of knowledge — all tended to make 
America and descriptions thereof alike attractive to prince 


and peasant, scholar, soldier, and citizen. Few, indeed, of the 
early missionaries possessed the requisite qualifications, either 
scientific or literary, to make what we should now consider 
desirable writers of books of travel. They either, through a 
large endowment of what phrenologists call the organ of 
wonder, exaggerated the natural features of the country, and 
gave fanciful instead of genuine pictures of what they saw ; 
or, from lack of knowledge and imagination, confined them- 
selves to a literal and limited recital of personal adventure, 
whence little practical information was to be derived. There 
is a singular union of extravagance and simplicity, of the 
fabulous and the true, of the boastful and the heroic, in these 
narratives. It must have required unusual discrimination on 
the part of readers in Europe, seeking facts, to disentangle 
the web of reality and fiction so often confusedly woven in 
such memoirs of travel. Yet some of them liave proved in- 
valuable to the historian of our own day, as the only known 
repertory of authentic statements as to the early productions, 
aspects, natives, explorations, and phenomena of parts of this 
continent : the integiity and patience of some of these mission- 
ary authors are apparent in their very style and method ; and 
many of their assertions have been fully proved by subsequent 
obser\-ation and contemporary evidence. Still, there is no class 
of writings which must be interpreted with more careful refer- 
ence to the character and motives of the writers, to the state 
of scientific knowledge at the period, and to the spirit of the 
age. A certain credulity, the result of superstition, ignorance, 
and enthusiasm, was characteristic even of the enlightened 
class of explorers then and there ; and, when motives of per- 
sonal vanity, self-aggrandizement, or national rivalry were 
added to these normal defects, it is easy to imagine how few 
of the clerical raconteurs are to be considered satisfactory to 
a philosophic inquirer. On the other hand, the singleness of 
purpose, the sincere Christian zeal, the pure love of nature 
and of truth, and a certain heroic conscientiousness of purpose 
and of practice, make some of these missionary travels in 
America naive^ suggestive, and interesting. As representa- 


tioDB of what certain parts of the country were two hundred 
years ago, of how nature looked, and what life was here and 
then, they afford us a contrast so vivid and surprising to the 
scene and the life of the present, that, on this account alone, 
no imaginative mind can revert to them without realizing 
anew the mysterious vicissitudes of time and place and the 
moral wonder involved in the settlement, growth, and present 
civilization of America. 

Among the French missionaries whose travels on this 
continent attracted much attention in his own day, and, in 
ours, are regarded at once with curiosity and distrust, was 
Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan. He was a native of Holland, 
and bom in the year 1640. Quite early in life the instinct of 
travel asserted itself; for, as one of that privileged mendicant 
fraternity whom every traveller has encountered in Sicily or 
Spain, he wandered asking alms through Italy and Germany. 
It was while thus following the vocation of a pious beggar 
at Callus and Dunkirk, that Hennepin's wandering passion 
beoame infected with that desire to cross the sea, which, 
sooner or later, seizes upon all instinctive vagabonds. He 
enlisted as a regimental chaplain, and in that capacity was 
present at tlie battle of Senef, between William of Orange and 
the Prince of Cond6, in 1674. He had passed one year as 
preacher in Belgium ; and had been thence sent by his supe- 
rior to Artois,'and subsequently had the charge of a hospital 
for several months in Holland. Such was the early career of 
Father Hennepin, previous to entering upon his American 
mission. He was ordered to Canada in 1675, and embarked 
at Rochelle, with La Salle. Having preached a while at 
Quebec, he went, the following year, to the Indian mission at 
Frontenac ; he afterward visited the Five Nations and the 
Dutch settlement at Albany, and returned to Quebec in 1678. 
When La Salle prepared to explore the Lakes, and des- 
patched the Chevalier de Tonty and La Motte* from Fort 
Frontenac to Niagara, to construct vessels, Hennepin was 
attached to the expedition ; and, in 1677, passed through 
Lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan, to the mouth of the St. 


Joseph's, ascended in a canoe to the portage; conyeyuig 
their slender barks six miles across the country to the Kan- 
karee, they glided down this stream and the L'oquois to the 
Illinois river, and erected Fort Cr^vecoBur, on the spot where 
now stands the city of Peoria. ^ 

It is said that La Salle's conjectures about the Mississippi 
river ^^ worked upon him ; and that, zealous for the honor of 
his nation, he designed to signalize the French name." His 
character has been thus described : ^^ He was a man of regular 
behaviour, of a large soul, well enough learned, and under- 
standing in the mathematics; designing, bold, undaunted, 
dexterous, insinuating ; not to be discouraged by anything ; 
wonderfully steady in adversity ; and well enough versed in 
several savage languages." Here we have all the requisites 
for a great explorer ; yet few have achieved such fame to 
endure such misfortunes. "The government of Fort Ed- 
ward," says his biographer, "which is the place farthest 
advanced among the savages, was given to him; and he 
going over to France, in 1675, the king made him proprietor 
of it ; he came home with stories of mines, wild bullocks, for- 
ests, &c. ; and there grew up a jealousy of him among his 
countrymen: they thwarted his designs; and atler he had 
picked out forty or fifty of them for a new expedition, and 
had spent years in going and coming, he was once nearly 
poisoned; he conciliated the savage inhabitants, and gave 
her name to Louisiana." 

When, after the lapse of a few weeks. La Salle was 
obliged to return to Frontenac for supplies, he sent Hennepin 
to explore that mighty river, hitherto only known to Euro- 
peans above the mouth of the Wisconsin. The adventurous 
friar started on this expedition in the month of February, 
1680, in his frail canoe, and, tracking the Illinois to its mouth, 
ascended the Mississippi to the Falls of St. Anthony, which he 
so named ifl honor of his patron saint ; and was the first Euro- 
pean who ever beheld those beautiful rapids in the heart of 
the wilderaess. Having arrived at the mouth of the St. Fran- 
cis river, in what is now Minnesota, a stream which he thus 


bi^tised from the founder of his own religions order, Henne- 
pin again landed, and traversed the country to the distance 
of one hundred and eighty miles; he sojonmed for three 
months among the Sioux Indians ; returned in safety to Que- 
bec, and soon after embarked for France ; and in 1688 pub- 
lished his ^ Descriptions,'' &c. This work was the most com- 
plete account of the first expedition of La Salle, and, as such, 
was sought for and read with avidity. Had the record of 
Hennepin's career ended here, his name would have remained 
honorably associated with those of other European mission- 
aries who, with courage and probity, sought for and pro- 
claimed the wonders of the New World, while planting there- 
in the cross and the faith to whose service he and they were 
pledged. But, not satisfied with the glory of a pioneer navi- 
gator of the Father of Waters, nor with the prestige of a 
fidthful aUachi to a brave but unfortunate chieftain, or that 
of a self-devoted minister of religion, in 1697, ten years after 
the death of La Salle, Hennepin audaciously gave to the world 
his ^^Nouvelle d^couvert^ d'un tres grand pays situ6 dans 
FAmerique entre la Nouveau Mexique et la Mer Glaciale ; * 
daiming therein to have descended the Mississippi and com- 
pleted, for the first time, its exploration. The mere fact of 
his extraordinary delay in announcing this remarkable experi- 
ence is sufficient to make a candid mind distrustful ; and the 
motive thereto seems evident when we remember how imme- 
diately this publication followed upon the demise of the only 
witness its author had reason to fear. Accordingly, Hennepin 
has been and is regarded as untruthful by our own and Euro- 
pean historians, except in regard to topographical and local 
details confirmed by other testimony and by observation of 
natural facts. Still his adventures, and the narrative thereof 
possess an interest derived from their early date ; we asso- 
ciate them with the first authentic glimpses of the new conti- 
nent in its vast Western phase which were attained by Euro- 

• ** New Discovery of a Vast Country in America, extending above 4,000 
Idea, between New France and New Mexico,** &c., map and plates, London, 


peans ; we cannot but imagine the wonder, hope, and cariosity 
inspired by such travellers' tales, and look upon the diminutive 
volumes and obsolete type of the earliest editions with a kind 
of fond renuniscence ; beholding, in fancy, the eagerness and 
incredulity with whicli they were originally pondered. And 
those olf us who have sailed along the umbrageous and lofty 
bluffs of the Upper Mississippi, and gazed from a steamer's 
deck, in the early summer morning, upon the magnificent soli- 
tude — the noble stream, the far reach of woods, the high, cas- 
tellated limestone rocks — and heard a wild bird's cry, or 
caught sight of a Sioux, a log hut, a hunter — watched the 
moving panorama of foliage, prairie, village, fever-stricken 
settlement and growing city alternating with lonely forest — 
realizing how Nature's wild seclusion and Humanity's primi 
tive civilization meet, separate, and mingle on the borders of 
a mighty inland river, flowing deep and far through the Wes* 
—-so fraught with destiny, so recent in the annals of nations, 
and so ancient in the beauty and grandeur of creation — we, 
who have thus gazed and mused, when rapidly borne on the 
wings of steam, where Hennepin's lonely and fragile canoe 
slowly moved through this scene of virgin and unexplored 
loveliness and power, cannot refrain from a thrill of sym- 
pathy with those emotions of awe and love, of expectancy 
and danger the roving Franciscan must have felt ; and, with 
all his want of veracity, recognize somewhat of fraternity by 
virtue of that " touch of nature " which makes us all akin. 
We accept the memorial of Hennepin, which gives his name 
to locomotive and steam barge, where he first baptized the 
waters ; we recall him as we stand in the midst of the dash- 
ing flood which still murmurs his saintly nomenclature ; and, 
when a praine flower takes us back to the bosom of nature, or 
the wind, unchecked on the wide plains, sounds the same eter- 
nal anthem that greeted his ears who first invaded their soli- 
tude, we feel that, however the face of the land has changed, 
woods fallen before the settler's axe, and aborigines faded in 
the path of civilization, and thrift encroached upon sport, agri- 
culture upon the wilderness, Nature still breathes her ele- 


mental channa, and preserves not a few of her most signifioant 
features. To an imaginative mind there is as much poetry as 
philosophy in the contrast between the Illinois which Henne- 
pin traversed, and that which to-day holds such a world of 
life and labor in her bosom. The vast fields of grain, the 
teeming orchards, the cities and railroads of the present, to 
the political economist, afford a marvellous parallel to the ver- 
dant deserts described in 1680 ; but not less striking is the 
coincidence that deserted Mormon temples are there found, and 
a President of this republic was thence elected to meet the 
greatest crisis of our national life. One sees the extremes of 
civilization and the normal physical resources of this Western 
region, side by side with the distinctive natural features which 
excited the admiration and fill the chronicles of the mission- 
ary explorers. Even a rapid transit brings these associations 
home to the mind. On one occasion, as our train stopped on 
the edge of a rolling prairie, whose treeless, undulating sur- 
&oe, for miles, was unbroken save by harvest fields, the early 
descriptions of the face of the country were realized ; and, 
while specimens of the mineral wealth and fruits of the bu- 
rial soil were passed around, there appeared, pensively walking 
on the edge of the " garden of the desert," in entire contrast 
with the solitude and wild fertility of the landscape, an Eng- 
lish lady, in the costtune of the landed gentry, leading a child — 
their flaxen hair and high-bred manner suggestive of Saxon 
lineage : they were evidently of the better class of emigrants, 
who had sought in the far-away West a sphere, limited and 
dreary in comparison with their English home, however 
blessed by nature, but auspicious for the future of children 
whose native land affords no promising scope either for work 
or subsistence. The vivacious and brave heralds of the Cross, 
who, two centuries ago, delighted the Parisians with their 
accounts of a land of boundless woods and waters in the 
West, rarely and imperfectly surmised its destiny in the Prov- 
idential issues of time : it was recognized, indeed, as a new 
domain for the rule of a French monarch, a new sphere for 
the triumph of religion, a new arena for military adventure 


and colonization ; but few realized that it was to become a 
grand scene of political development and a refuge for the 
baffled nationalities of Europe. Indeed, there is no chapter 
in the primitive history of the country, which, appreciated 
in all its relations, picturesque, adventurous, heroic, and 
religious, that offers such attractive themes for art, romance, 
and philosophy as these early missions, whereby the Old 
World first won a foothold in the grandest portions of the 
New. It was through the vague reports of their aboriginal 
converts that the pious followers of St. Francis de Xavier, 
were stimulated to seek now a great lake, and now a mighty 
river : it was when in search of new tribes as subjects of their 
missionary zeal, that incidents of romantic interest and scenes 
of unrivalled beauty became known to them, and, through 
them, to the civilized world. Menard, a Huron missionary, 
planned an expedition in search of the Mississippi in 1660 ^ 
at the mission on the Saguenay, the Jesuits heard from their 
wild converts, of a vast lake, that lured them on a voyage of 
auspicious discovery ; while their brethren in New York State 
witnessed the ceremonious departure of the Iroquois to give 
battle to an inimical tribe on the shores of the " beautiful 
river," and, being thus made aware of new links in the mag- 
nificent water chain, urged their explorations in the direction 
of the Ohio. Father Dablon, when superior of the Ottawa • 
mission, established a station among the Illinois, and reached 
the Wisconsin river after a toilsome voyage : his " Relation " 
was published in 1670, and contained a map of Lake Superior. 
But the narrative of Father Claude Allouez, who left France 
in 1658, contains one of the earliest accounts of an expedition 
to the Illinois country, which the Indians had described to 
Father Dablon as intersected by a river " so beautiful that, 
for more than three hundred leagues from its mouth, it is 
larger than that which flows by Quebec ; and the vast country 
is nothing but prairies without trees or woods, which oblige 
the inhabitants of those parts to use turf and dung for fuel, 
till you come about twenty miles from the sea." Allouez 
began his journey thither on the ice ; one of his companions 


was killed bj a bear ; be had' seen Father Rene M6nard go 
forth on his sacred work, to die in the wilderness ; but tiie 
ardent love of religions enterprise, which made his appoint- 
ment to this wild and distant land so welcome amid the com- 
forts of home, was not chilled or daunted : one of the first 
missionaries who reached the Mississippi, his name is asso- 
ciated with that of Marquette in the annals of Western dis- 
covery, whom he succeeded in the Illinois mission ; in his 
light canoe he faithfully explored the shores of Michigan, and 
erected a chapel at Chippewa. The record of strange animals, 
impressive scenery, savage hospitality and games, alternates 
curiously, in these narratives, with the observance of saints' 
days and the rites of Christianity, and the American wilder- 
ness with the associations of the Roman Church. 

In the Old World, it is a pastime of singular fascination to 
the cnltivated and imaginative American, to haunt an ancient 
town like Chester, where Roman walls and camp outlines, 
faded banners won in Cromwell's time, and baronial escutch- 
eons or classic coins identify the site of historic events 
associated with the distant past. To the native of a land 
where all is so fresh, active, and changeful, the shadow of the 
pyramids, the moonlit arches of the Colosseum, and the me- 
dieval towers of Florence impart to the landscape a hallowed 
charm, more impressive from its entire novelty. And yet such 
experiences are possible at home, if the same retrospective 
dreamer will but connect the facts of the past, of which there 
are so few artificial memorials, with the aspect of nature un- 
modified in her more grand features by the vicissitudes of 
centuries. Looking forth, in the calm of a summer morning, 
upon a lonely and wooded reach of Western river or lake, let 
him recall the story of pioneer, adventurer, or missionary, 
contrasting it with the tokens of subsequent civilization, and 
the appeal to wonder is not less emphatic, though more vague. 
How wild, remote, exuberant must have seemed the Father 
of Waters to Marquette and Joliet, when they glided out 
upon its vast and unexplored bosom ! On the 13th of May, 
1673, with five other Frenchmen, they embarked in two 


canoes, provided with a slender stock of Indian com and 
smoked beef; and, guided by such information as they could 
gather from the aborigines, left Green Bay, ascended the 
Fox river, and, on the 25th of June, entered the Mississippi 
The first naive and quaint record of what they saw, heard, 
and did on this primitive expedition, has, by the liberal enter- 
prise of one of our citizens,* been reproduce as it then greet- 
ed the eyes of their sympathetic countrymen, with the obso- 
lete type so appropriate to such a voyageur^s chronicle. 
Father Marquette tells us there of the wild rice, grapes, and 
plums wherewith they regaled — of the Miamis that assisted 
their portage— of the trace of footsteps on the river's bank, 
following which they came upon a beautiful prairie — of so- 
journs in Illinois villages, calumet-smoking with friendly 
natives, feverish nights with mosquitos — of the dreary bellow 
of herds of buffaloes, and the lowly flights of the startled 
quails. Those months of primitive navigation were fraught 
with a rare excitement to minds reared amid the highest 
existent civilization ; but, as if awed by the precarious life 
and majestic aspect of primeval nature, the simplicity of the 
narrative is only equalled by the unprecedented interest of 
the discoveries ; and the good priest's memory has long been 
hallowed by his death in the midst of scenes forever identified 
with his brave and pious character. On the shore of Lake 
Michigan, the isolated and picturesque witness of those heroic 
toils and that humane ministry, on the 18th of May, 1675, the 
canoe of Father Marquette entered a small stream, and he 
requested the two men in charge thereof to leave him for 
half an hour : on returning, they found him dead. The site 
of his grave, f near the bank, is still designated, and the 
little river bears his name ; but the brief and artless record 

* Jamea Lenox, Esq., of New York. 

t " Marquette^B body was disinterred from its lonely resting place on the 
lake shore by the Eiskakon Indians, among whom he had faithfully labored. 
Dissecting it, according to custom, they washed the bones and dried them in 
the sun, then putting them neatly in a box of bireh bark, they set out to bear 
them to the house of St Ignatius, at Michilimakinac." — ^Dablom*8 Narrative 
of Marquette's Ex^oedUion. 


of his voyage, a small duodeoimo of forty-three pages, is 
the most characteristic memorial of the man, and one of the 
most endeared as well as vivid glimpses of that marvelloas 
river and region, as they were first revealed to civilized 

Another French missionary to Canada has left, not only a 
more ample, but more authentic chronicle, and his name is 
often invoked with trust and respect by our historical writers. 
Pierre Francois Xavier Charlevoix was bom in 1682, at St. 
Qaentin, and died in 1761, at Laff^che. His life was devoted 
to stady and travel in behalf of his faith ; and few of his 
order have manifested greater courage, patience, and in- 
tegrity. His American tour, although now but a pleasant 
excnrsion, was formidable and adventurous enough, in his 
own day, to render him more famous than an African or 
Arctic traveller of our own. His account of the productions 
of the wilderness, the extent and character of rivers, woods, 
and mountains, and especially of the character and customs 
of the natives, was not only esteemed when the novelty of its 
details originally won readers, but has continued among the 
standard books of traveLf Charlevoix canefully and thor- 
oaghly, with the means and opportimities at command, 

* See J. G. Shears " Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley, 
with the KarratiTe of Marquette, Hennepin, Douay," &c, 8vo., fao-simile and 
map. New Tork, 1862 ; Rev. W. I. Kip's ** Early Jesuit Missions in North 
America, compiled from the letters of the French Jesuits,'* 1 vol, New York, 
I844S, and 2 toIs. Svo., London, 1847; and "Relations des Jesuits, conte- 
nant ee qui s'est pass^ de plus remarquable dans les missions des P^res de la 
Gompagnie de J^sus dans la Nouvelle France : ouvrage publid sous les aus- 
pices da gouTemement Canadien," 8 vols, royal 8vo., of about 900 pp. each, 
Qoebec, 1858. " This work, of which only a small number were printed, is a 
complete reprint of all the Jesuit relations concerning the missions in Canada 
and French North America, from 1611 to 1672, and contains most important 
matter concerning the Indian tribes, and the early history of Maine, New 
York, and all the Northwest.'' 

f ** Histoire et Description g^ndrale de la Nouvelle France," atlas and 6 
Tols., Paris, 1744. 

^ Letters to the Duchess of Lesdiguires, giving an account of a voyage to 
Canada, and travels through that vast country and Louisiana to the Gulf of 
Mexico,'* Svo., London, 1768. 


ascended the St. Lawrence, traversed the region called t&e 
^ conntry of the Illinois/' and descended the Mississippi. A 
comity now bears his name in Michigan. He visited the 
East and West Indies, and, when at home again, elaborately 
recorded his extensive travels. Thejy form a valuable work 
of reference when it is desirable to ascertain the physical and 
local facts in regard to these comitries daring the first part 
of the last century. Among the suggestive historical and 
])ersonal associations which the rapid march of events, and 
especially the triumphs of locomotion and intercourse, contin- 
uflJly excite in this age and country, few are more impres- 
sive than the fact that the two most remote points of Charle- 
voix's world-wide journeys were, in a manner, brought to- 
gether when the Japanese embassy visited the United States 
a few years since. In his wildest dreams the ardent Jesuit 
could scarcely have imagined that the region of mighty rivers 
and primeval woods, which he so laboriously explored amid 
privation, toil, and danger, could, in so brief a period, become 
accessible, populous, and fused, as it were, into the compass 
of a recreative tour ; and that the natives of that far-away 
isle in the Indian seas, whose semi-civilization he first reported 
to Europe, should come hither as ambassadors to a vast re- 
public, and carry their Asian aspect through crowded cities 
of • Anglo-Saxon freemen. Never, perhaps, were stationary 
and progressive civilization brought so directly in contrast. 
The Japanese envoys, as well as their distant home, are identi- 
cal with those Charlevoix so long ago described ; while the 
virgin solitudes of nature, amid which his lonely canoe floated 
or his solitary camp fire blazed, are superseded by busy towns 
and peopled with flying caravans of travellers, representing an 
economy, character, and government full of vitality and of 
prosperous and original elements. 

It is curious to turn to the somewhat monotonous but still 
instructive pages of Charlevoix, and realize how exclusively, 
at the time he wrote, the interest of this continent was aborig- 
inal and prospective ; for it is with tbe aspects and resources 
of nature and the peculiarities of the Indian tribes that his 


pen is oocupiecL Whatever of romance tinges his chronicle 
18 Arcadian ; the myths and manners of the different tribes, 
the trees and the reptiles, waterfalls and savannas, are^ the 
staple themes. BObs religious views and mission lend a pensive 
dignity to his narrative : like most of his comitrymen, he 
develops certain sympathies with, and finds curious interest in, 
the sauvcfffea ; he pictures the wild beauty and primitive life 
of the country when furs were the chief article of traflSo — 
when the convents of Canada, the frontier forts, and the 
Lidian villages were the only places of secure sojourn — ^when 
"fire water" had only begun its fascinating destruction 
among the then naive children of the soil — when rude fields 
of tobaoco, orchards, and maize fields alone gave sign of culti- 
vation, and game and fish supplied the wanderer's subsbt- 
cnoe. In Charlevoix we find the germs of colonial romance 
in America ; the primitive maps, the old forts, the early crude 
botanical nomenclature, with ethnologic^ hints regarding the 
Hnrons, Iroquois, Algonquin, and other tribes. He first 
daborately pictured the ^^ lacs " — those wonderful inland seas 
which constituted so remarkable a feature of the New World 
to its first visitors, and became the great means of economical 
development by initiating, under wise statesmanship, the pro- 
lific system of communication between the far interior and 
the broad seacoast. 

His letters were commenced in 1720, by order of the King 
of France. One of the best English translations appeared in 
1765. The details are curious now, rather than novel ; they 
tee carefully noted, and form the best authority for reference 
as to the primitive aspect, productions, and aborigbal tribes. 
The topographical statements are often confirmed by experi- 
ence at the present day ; and the imaginative traveller finds 
his enjoyment of the scenery enhanced by contemplating it 
with the record of this venerable guide before him, and con- 
trasting with that early record the scene as modified by the 
n^ts and sounds of Anglo-Saxon civilization. 

" In New England, and other provinces of America," says 
Charlevoix, ^' subject to the British empire, there prevails an 


opnlence of which they seem not to have taken the benefit ; 
and, in New France, a poverty disguised by an air of ease, 
which does not seem constmned. Commerce and the cultnre 
of plantations strengthen the former : the industry of the 
inhabitants supports the latter ; and the taste of the nation 
diffuses an unbounded agreeableness. The English colonist 
gathers wealth, and never runs into any superfluous expense ; 
the French enjoys what he has, and often makes a show of 
what he has not : one labors for his heirs ; the other leaves 
them in the necessity in which he found himself, to shift as 
well as they can. The English are entirely averse to war, 
because they have much to lose ; they do not regard the sav- 
ages, because they think they have no occasion for them.'' 
In these remarks we have a key, not only to the national char- 
acteristics of the two peoples, but one which explains the suc- 
cess of one and the failure of the other in permanent coloni- 
zation. Our associations with the name of Chicago and of 
Illinois make it difficult to realize the casual mention of them 
by Charlevoix as the abode of Indians only : " Fifty years 
ago," he writes, ^' the Miamis were settled at^ the south end 
of the lake Michigan, in a place called Chicago, which is also 
the name of a little river that runs into the lake : the niinois, 
a savage nation, on the banks of the river Illinois ; they bum 
prisoners, and sing doleful songs." He observes that the 
^^ navigation of Lake Michigan requires much care, because 
the wind comes from the open lake, that is, the west ; the 
waves are the whole length of the lake, and blend with the 
shock of currents and of rivers running in ; " — a primitive 
description, which comes home to all who have experienced 
a gale there. 

Of the two great rivers of the West, he writes : " The 
Missouri is far the most rapid, and enters the Misissippi like 
a conqueror; aftierward it gives its color to that river, 
which it never loses again, but carries quite down to the 
sea. The natives are obliged to use pettiaugres instead of 
canoes of bark, on account of snags ; they are trees made hol- 
low: the natives know the north by the tops of trees, as 


they lean a little that way ; the Mississippi is little known ^ 
above the Falls of St. Anthony." 

Charlevoix was an eminent teacher, both of languages and 
philosophy, and, for more than twenty years after his return 
from America, '' had a chief share in the Jawmal de Trevoux^ 
His* character and learning gave authority to his ^^ Histoire 
G^n^rale de la Nouvelle France." As we read his accounts 
of personal observations and experience in Canada and on the 
Miasissippi, of the beavers and cypress trees, the elks and eels, 
the lakes and falls, the maize and oysters, the snakes and tur- 
tles, Indians and missions, we can perceive a directness and 
honesty of purpose, which is internal evidence of the author's 
good &ith. The simplicity and ingenuousness of his style have 
always been recognized, though its correctness is not admit- 
ted by verbal critios. 

With the wild, luxuriant, lonely, remote picture of the 
Jesuit dear and full to the mind's eye, what a wonderful pro- 
cess of development, relation, and change, does the Illinois 
r^on offer to one now familiar with its history and its 
aspect ! The unpeopled desert of the isolated missionary is 
still in the far West, " a vast prairie dotted with groves and 
intersected with belts of timber ; " but, less remote, its climate 
is only modified ; and the herds of buffalo have disappeared, 
the wild deer drink no more at the streams ; the same millions 
of fertile acres and a portion of the immense swamp diversify 
the face of the land ; the same limestone bluffs frown impos- 
ingly upon the vast river ; the same piercing blasts from the 
Rodry Mountains sweep snow-covered plains ; and, away from 
the settlements, the same blue-bells, wild roses, thistles, sorrels, 
fragrant herbs, and lofty weeds and hairy-leaved plants, and 
grassy levels make the summer gorgeous and balmy ; the scar- 
let trumpet blossoms and the golden dandelion, the low box 
trees, the purple wild grape, and the crimson sumach make 
brilliant and variegated the meadows ; the same gray, mottled, 
and flying squirrels occasionally cross the wanderer's path ; the 
owl may be heard at night, and the turkey buzzards hover over 
carrion ; the crow, the falcon, the hawk, the vulture, the mock« 


ing bird, and the rattlesnake, here and there, attest that old hun- 
ters and early naturalists correctly noted the indigenous animal 
life of the region ; but tall maize stalks, and woolly flocks, and 
fruitful onchards, and herds of cattle have superseded the wil- 
derness where the elk browsed fearlessly and the hares bur- 
rowed unharmed. Since the flag of Spain was planted at the 
mouth of the Mississippi, in 1541 — since, a century later. Father 
Marquette offered the calumet of peace and the Canada fur trad- 
ers came thither, what vicissitudes and progress have signal- 
ized the scenes that Hennepin so long ago described ! Be- 
stowed by Louis XIV., in 1712, upon Anthony Crozat, with the 
entire territory of Louisiana and Wisconsin, the Illinois country 
became the capital upon which a trading company, managed 
by John Law, produced financial convulsion which shook the 
Old World and bred political and social revolution — ^the only 
relic and memorial whereof are the poor fragments of Fort 
Chartrcs which he erected when at the pinnacle of his auda- 
cious success. Wolfe, in 1769, brought to an end the rule of 
France on this continent ; yet many of her children lingered 
in the Illinois and preserved intact their characteristic modes 
of life, which have been more or less transmitted. In 1768 
the vast domain passed to the Bntish crown ; in 1778 its 
posts there were captured by the Virginia rangers under 
Roger Clark ; in 1809 the country became a separate Terri- 
tory, in 1818 a State of our Union ; and the name of one of her 
counties preserves the memory of the leader of those who' 
successfully opposed any provision for slavery in her consti- 
tution. Her Indian wars, during this period and subsequent- 
ly, form a remarkable historical episode, which includes the 
last stand taken by Pontiac, Tecumseh, and Black Hawk for 
their aboriginal dominion, and the scene of their final sacrifice. 
But, however romantic, these events are less interesting to 
the economist than the unprecedented physical development, 
the vast crops of grain, the coal region, and the lead and 
copper mines, which have made Illinois so productive. Par- 
allel with these demonstrations of latent wealth and normal 
fertility, of Indian history and land speculation, social life 


there has yielded origimil traits, whereof authors and artists 
have not inadequately availed themselves. Tlie adventures 
of missionary, trader, hunter, settler, and traveller have been 
geniany recorded ; the descendants of the original three thou- 
sand French colonists on the banks of the Mississippi, with 
their national proclivities, so diverse from the Anglo-Saxon, 
and manifested in their household economy and vivacious 
temperament — ^the primitive manners and costume of the 
farmers, who long conveyed the products of their farms in 
flatboats to New Orleans, dad in raccoon-skin caps, buckskin 
l^gings, moccasins, and linsey hunting shirts, wi^ the home- 
WTongbt, brightly dyed frocks of the women, and the frank 
and brave manners and language of this free and thrifty popu- 
ladcm — ^have yet a traditional charm : here, too, the terrible 
justioe of Lynch law had full scope — ^the Missouri ruffians, the 
dAris of the Indian tribes, the Western politician, and the 
robust or ague-stricken emigrant,, made up an unique and 
original population, full of salient points to the eye of a Euro- 
pean or visitor from the conmiunities of New England or old 
Southern States. Cooper, in a novel, and Bryant, in a poem, 
have graphically described the life and aspect of the Prairie 
State^ which now boasts millions of inhabitants. Kohl, speak- 
ing of Illinois, compares it in shape to a grain sack, rent in 
the middle by its river, and bursting out with grain at both 
ends. Professor Voelcher, consulting chemist of the Royal 
Agricultural Society of England, analyzing four samples of 
prairie soil, said : ^^ The most noticeable feature in the analysis 
is their very large quantity of nitrogen — nearly twice as much 
as the most fertile soil of Great Britain ; in each case, taking 
the soil at an average depth of ten inches, an acre of their 
prairie soil contains upward of three tons of nitrogen, and as 
a heavy crop of wheat, with its straw, contains about fifty- 
two pounds of nitrogen, there is thus a natural store of am- 
monia in this soil sufficient for more than a hundred wheat 

But the most remarkable fact in the economical history of 
HHnois and its adjacent States, is the effect of locomotive faoil- 


ities and the genius of commiudcation,*in developing the re- 
sources and bringing, as it were, to the Atlantic coast and the 
commercial East, the region Hennepin so laboriously and so 
long traversed a mighty wilderness to reach. The contrast 
fully realized of the approach then and now, is one of those 
modem miracles of practical life to the wonder of which only 
habit blinds us. Vessels go direct from Liverpool to Chica- 
go, by crossing the Atlantic, entering the St. Lawrence, and 
surmounting the rapids by means of the Canadian locks and 
canals, entering Ontario, and, after sailing through that lake, 
and a descent of three hundred feet of the Niagara River, by 
the Welland Canal, reach Lake Erie, thence through the straits 
and lake of St. Clair to Lake Huron and Lake Michigan — ^in 
the heart of the American continent. Four thousand seven 
hundred and thirty-six miles of road terminate there, of which 
two thousand eight hundred miles are within the State limits. 
These great highways were^ built to carry off the surplus of 
the prairies.* 

As an illustration of the cosmopolitan tendency of the 
population, it was but recently that in this distant inland city, 
where a blockhouse fort alone stood within the memory 
of " the oldest inhabitant," sons of the Bishop of London, of 
Admiral CoUingwood, of the novelist Dickens, with German 
barons and Hungarian officers, were there cheerfully engaged 
in various vocations. 

There is something exciting to the imagination as well as 
impressive to the mind in the fact that the oldest authentic 
written memorials of America, after the narratives of mari- 

* The following tablo compares the ofiBcial returns of the population of 

1848 20,028 

1849 28,047 

1860 29,968 

1852 88,734 

1858 60,625 

1860 110,978 

1862 188,886 

Thus, in thirty-three jears, a colonj of seyenty persons has grown into a 
dty of neatly 140,000. 

1830 70 

1840 4,853 

1843 7,680 

1844 10,864 

1846 12,088 

1846 14,169 

1847 16,869 


time adyenturers, are the letters and ^^ relations " of the Jesnit 
missionaries. Often when a band of hunters or company of 
earlj colonists penetrated to a region of the wilderness, as 
thej imagined, unvisited before by any human being except 
the savage natives, the sight of some relic or token of these 
religious pioneers brought into immediate contrast the most 
halloired associations of the Old World and the virgin wilder- 
ness of the New. Sometimes an old aboriginal guide r^ 
pcated to the astonished strangers what had been whispered 
in his ear when, as a child, he played around the council fire 
or the wigwam, of kind and wise men, rSbed in black, who 
talked to the children of the forest, of heaven, prayed over 
their dead, and baptized their maidens. On other occasions, 
amid the mossy coverings of ancient trees, the curious ex- 
plorer would find rudely carved the effigies or escutcheon of 
the French king : here a broken cross, there a respected grave, 
now a ruined chapel, and again a censer or sacramental cup, 
even in the heart of the woods revived to the exiles the 
images, sacrifices, and triumphs of these indomitable members 
of the Society of Jesus : some of their names are perpetuated 
in those of towns now flourishing on the site of their apostle- 
ihip or martyrdom ; others are only preserved on a page of 
history seldom consulted. Poets and novelists, historians 
and artists have, from time to time, renewed the pious tra- 
ditions and isolated lives of these remarkable men ; but few 
of the summer tourists who gaze with delight upon the um- 
brageous islands of the St. Lawrence, or stand entranced amid 
the foaming rapids of St. Anthony, or watch with rapture the 
undulating sea of herbage and flowers on a blooming prairie 
of Illinois or Missouri, associate these characteristic aspects of 
nature with their first European explorers. Their written 
memorials, however, aptly consecrate their experience : there- 
by we learn how cheerfully scholars, soldiers, and courtiers 
braved the privations and the cruelties incident to such heroic 
enterprises ; we read the artless story of their ministry — how 
at times they feel rewarded for months of suffering by the 
saintly development of an Indian virgin, by the acquiescence 


of a tribe in the rites of Christianity, or by the amelioration 
in the habits and temper of these fierce children of nature, 
under the influence of consistent, humane, and holy examples 
and care. All the correspondence and reports of the Jesuit 
missionaries are interspersed with local descriptions, some- 
times vivid and oflen so specific as to serve as data for natu- 
ralist and historian. The anecdotes of Indian character and 
of personal adventure also give a quaint zest to the story ; 
and not unfrequently a deep pathos is imparted thereto by 
the fate of the writer — dying of hunger, at the stake, or by 
treachery — going %rth on their perilous journeys from fort 
or settlement, conscious they may not hope to return — and 
yielding up their lives with the same intrepid zeal with which 
they bore the discouragements, exposure, ingratitude, and 
lonely struggles of missionary life in the wilderness. Jogues, 
Du Poisson, Souel, Breboeuf^ Lallemand, Senat, La Chaise, 
Joliet, and Marquette, are names thus endeared and hallowed. 
Among other episodes recorded in the letters of the 
Jesuit missionaries, which combine romantic with historical 
significance, are the accounts of the Iroquois martyrs, of 
Catherine, the saint of that tribe, of voyages up the Missis- 
sippi, of the massacre by the Natchez, of the mission to the 
Illinois, and of Montcalm's expedition to Fort George. Some 
of the letters written by the missionaries to their superiors and 
brethren in France contain the earliest descriptions of por- 
tions of States now constituting the most flourishing region 
in the West. In his account of a " Journey through Illinois 
and Michigan, in 1712," Father Marest writes : " Our Illinois 
dwell in a delightful country. There are great rivers, which 
water it, and vast ^nd dense forests, with delightful prairies." 
Be descants on the " charming variety " of the scene, speaks 
of the abundance of game, such as buffaloes, roebucks, hinds, 
stags, swan, geese, bustards, ducks, and turkeys ; he notes 
the wild oats and the cedar and copal trees, the apple, peach, 
and pear orchards, and says the flesh of young bears is very 
delicate, and the native grapes " only moderately good." Of 
the Indians he remarks that ^' their physical development is 


fine — ^flie men beings tall, active, and very swift of foot ; " he 
describes their mode of life, their wigwams, com staple, 
manitous and medicine men : it is among the women, how- 
ever, that his mission best succeeds; they, he writes, are 
^ depressed by their daily toil, and are more docile to the 
troths of the gospel," and are invariably '^ modestly clothed 
when they come into the chnrch." 

The dieerfiil temperament Vmd quick observation, as well 
as the pious zeal of the French Jesuits, made them admirable 
pioneers and explorers; with enough imagination to enjoy 
and describe nature, and sympathy adequate to put them in 
relation with the races they aimed to convert, more or less 
preliminary study enabled them to note the phenomena and 
products of the new country, if not with scientific complete- 
ness, yet with intelligence and precision. Charlevoix singu- 
larly combined the priest and the savan ; he tells us, speaking 
of Christian baptism ronong the savages, how an mfartt mori- 
bund fiU guerit par la vertu de ce sacrament ; and, at the 
same time, his was the first correct estimate of the height of 
the Falls of Niagara. His " Histoire de la Nouvelle France " 
is a pleasing memorial of his loyalty and pious self-devotion, 
whereto he so aptly joined the assiduous ob8er\'ation and 
careful narrative of an expedition which revealed so many 
then fresh and valuable facts in regard to the magnificent 
domain partially colonized, and, as was then hoped, perma- 
nently appropriated by France. 



cbbybccettb; la bochefougauld-liancoubt ; 


Aster the colonial adventiirers and the religious pioneers 
had made the natural features of America familiar to Europe 
— after settlements had been made (disputed, declined, and 
flourished) by representatives of every civilized land, and the 
English character was the established social influence in the 
New World — came that memorable struggle for political in- 
dependence which attracted so many brave and intelligent 
allies from abroad : some of these have left accounts of theii 
experience and a record of their impressions; they diflfer 
from the earlier series of travels in a more detailed report of 
the manners and customs of the people, in a sympathetic em- 
phasis derived from mutual privations and triumphs, in a 
speculative interest suggested by the new and vast prospects 
which then opened before a free people, and in the attractive 
personal associations which connect these literary memorials 
with the names of our champions in the War of Independence, 
Perhaps no one of this class of travels in America is more 
satisfactory, from the interest of the narrative and the agreea- 
ble style, than those of the Marquis de Chastellux.* He vividly 

* " Yojages dans TAmerique Septentrionale dans lee ann^es IVSO-'Sl-'SV 
2 toIb. Syo., Paris, 1786. 


cftugfat the life of America at the time of its most character- 
istic self-assertion. His amiable mamiers and intelligent zeal 
had won him the special regard of Washington. He was one 
of the forty members of the French Academy, and a major- 
general of the French army, serving under Comit Rocham- 

Francois Jean, Marquis de Chastellux, was bom in Paris 
in 1734, and died there in^l788. He was one of those charac- 
ters almost peculiar to the old regime^ in France, wherein the 
mUUaire and the man of letters were gracefully combined 
with the gentleman. At quite an early age he entered the 
army, and won distinction in Germany during the Seven 
Years' war. His agreeable conversation and urbane manners* 
made him a great favorite when, under Rochambeau, he 
served in America ; in camp and drawing room, at wayside 
ions and among educated and philosophical men, he was 
alike pleasant and courteous; and from the commander-in- 
chief of our army to the shrewd farmer of whose hospitality 
be partook while travelling, from the stately dowager at 
Philadelphia to the rustic beauty of an isolated plantation in 
Yirginia, he giuned that consideration which high breeding, 
quick sympathy, and a cultivated mind so naturally win. He 
acquired no inconsiderable literary reputation by a work that 
appeared in 1772, De la FeliciU Publique: the significance 
of this somewhat ambitious treatise has long since passed 
away, with the t6ne of feeling and the state of opinion it 
once not inadequately represented ; still, it is an interesting 
memorial of an amiable and accomplished champion of the 
American cause, and a curious illustration of the theories and 
style once so prevalent in France. The Marquis sympathized 
with Condorcet's views of the possible and probable progress 
of humanity, and his work is chiefly inspired with these specu- 
lations ; but it has no claim to logical order or harmony of 
plan ; it has vigorous thoughts, but they are expressed in too 
rhetorical a manner to impress deeply a reflective mind ; the 
absence of Christian faith is characteristic of the author's 
times and country among philosophical writers : yet, notwith- 


Standing the incompleteness and sceptioism of the work, its 
brilliant generalizations so pleased Voltaire that he declared 
it superior to Montesquieu's famous treatise. As in so many 
other instances, the fame of the Marquis de Chastellux, as a 
writer, rests upon the incidental rather than the formal and 
elaborate achievements of his pen. His Voyoffes dans PAm^ 
rique SepterUrionale are the spontaneous conmients and de- 
scriptions such as fill the letters an^ journals of an intelligent 
traveller ; they are written in a very pleasant though desul- 
tory style, and abound in details of interest not familiar at the 
time the work appeared. Many important economical, social, 
and personal facts are gracefully recorded ; and the charao- 
•ter of the country and of the men who directed the War 
of Independence and the formation of a free government are 
described ; there are some lively anecdotical episodes, and not 
a few acute speculations : the work is truly French in the con- 
stant alternation of a light vein of remark with serious observa- 
tion, and warm sentiment with worldly wisdom. The frugal 
and simple ways, the mental independence, modesty, habits of 
reading, and political tendencies of the people elicit from the 
Marquis the most intelligent sympathy; l\e appreciated the 
eminent characters to whom the country owed her safety ; he 
notes with accuracy the climate, productions, and habits, with 
which he comes into contact ; but, now and then, a tone of 
pedantry seems inconsistent with the scene and the senti- 
ment ; yet sometimes the associations of both naturally excite 
classic and romantic memories ; he quotes Rabelais and Metas- 
tasio, Moliere and Guarini ; a fair country girl is suggestive 
of Greuze, and a rural Adonis of Marmontel ; he thinks of 
Buffon among the novel birds and beasts of tl^p wild ; and a 
Connecticut statesman reminds him of a Holland stadtholder ; 
Philadelphia is a modern Capua, and he praises the ladies of 
that city for skill on the harpsichord ; and the fortified High- 
lands of the Hudson seem a war-girdled Thrace ; he contrasts 
the silent watchfulness of a Quaker meeting with the chanting 
of the Church of England. The mocking bird and the moun- 
tain top, grand old trees and original human beings beguQe his 

VBxaaa tbatxllebs ajxd wbhers. 61 * 

flaeDt pen. Ab a digest and epitome of his obsenrationB in 
the New World, his discourse on ^^ The Advantages and Dis-' 
advantages resulting to Europe from Democracy in America,^ 
1787, is praised by La Harpe as his best work, and seems to 
have definitely settled the question, as proposed by Raynal, in 
favor of the advantages. De Chastdlux was one of Pope 
Ganganelli's correspondents; and translated Humphrey's 
^ Campaign.** The period of his sojourn in America adds 
greatly to the interest of his account thereof: the early bat- 
tle fields of the Revolution were yet fresh, and the momentous 
conflict was drawing to a glorious end ; he saw a fair fugitive 
from the Wyoming massacre at a New England tavern ; and 
parted with Washington where he took a final leave of hia* 
officers, in the ^ righ^hand ipom " of the old headquarters 
at Newburgh. 

One of the biographers of ChasteUux, praising his accom- 
plishments, observes : ^^ Cette alliance des armes et des lettres^ 
mains rarea autrefois^ fut doublemerU glorieux pour lui.^^ 
IBs ^^ Essay sur rUnion de la Poesie et de la Musique " and 
his " Vies de quelques grands Capitaines " were highly com- 
mended by Bi^on, who was president of the Academy when 
the Marquis was elected a member ; the subject of the latter's 
discours d^entrance was Le Gout : an appropriate theme for a 
nobleman whose writings indicate the cultivation of taste in 
all departments as a mental habit. It has been objected, and 
justly, to his philosophical writings, that their style is too 
ambitious ; and, in this respect, the simplicity and geniality 
of his less pretentious Travels give them a more popular tone 
and scope. They were, notwithstanding their immediate suc- 
cess, bitterly criticized by Brissot de Warville. 

An English gentleman, who lived in America at that time, 
translated the Travels of the Marquis from the French, and 
added copious notes. Only twenty-four copies of the original 
had been printed. It is a curious illustration of the period, 
that " at a time when there was very little hope of any pack- 
ets reaching Europe but by means of duplicates," the author 
availed himself of the little printing press on board the squad- 


ron at Rhode Uuid. Only ten out of the twenty-four arriyed 
to the address of those for whom thej were destined, and who 
had been earnestly requested not to take copies; but such 
was the prevalent desire to know eycrjrthiBg possible as to 
the condition and prospects of America and the remarkable 
events that had so lately transpired there, that these few iBa» 
pressions were widely circulated ; and the translation before 
alluded to appeared in Dublin and afterward in London, in 
1787.'^ Whoever would compare the present condition of a 
part of the Southern and most of the New England States 
with that of eighty years ago, will find few more pleasant 
authorities than the Marquis de Chastellux. He united, in a 
singular degree, the gentleman and the scholar, the philosopher 
and the artist, the man of the world and the good fellow ; 
accordingly he looked upon the primitive life, the original 
characters, the economical resources, and the natural beauty 
around him, with curiosity and sympathy ; he had the facility 
of intercourse, the liberal culture, the desire of knowledge so 
requisite for a traveller ; and he was alive to the significance 
of the present in its relation to the future. His appreciadon 
of the social virtues of the people and his tolerance of their 
limited means — ^his interest in their welfare, and his respect 
for their cause, are evident on every page. No foreigner has 
manifested a greater admiration of Washington, or more truly 
described his bearing and principles. Some of his observa- 
tions are full of intere^ for those who delight to trace na- 
tional character and local influence to their sources. Here an 
anecdote, and there a description ; now military details, and 
again social traits occupy his pen : no phase of domestic econ- 
omy or statistics of trade and agriculture, no pretty face or 
shrewd comrade which accident reveals by the way, is allowed 
to escape him ; so that unconsciously he prepared a book of 
reference whence the philosopher, novelist, and historian may 
still draw useful hints. It was in the spring of 1782 that the 
Marquis de Chastellux travelled through Upper Virginia, and, 

• "Trards in North America, in the Years 1780, '81, 'SS," 2 volfl. Sto, 
maps, London, 1787. 


during the ensuing antmnn, through Massachusetts, New 
Hampshire, and part of Pennsylvania. He was accustomed 
thus to occupy the intervals of professional duty ; and, there- 
fore, his journeys were undertaken for the express purpose of 
acquainting himself with the country and people — a fact in- 
dicative of liberal curiosity and a love of travel for its own 
sake, which is an indispensable requisite for the pleasing re- 
port thereof. It is not uninteresting to revert to some of the 
least uncommon experiences of such a writer, especially when 
we are familiar with the places described as they appear after 
nearly a century of prosperous development : we thus obtain 
veritable glimpses into the life of the past. At the outset of 
his journal he speaks of having breakfasted at Providence, 
R. L, ^^ with Colonel Peck. He received me in a small house, 
where he lived with his wife, who is young also, and has a 
pleasing countenance, but without anything striking. This 
little establishment, where comfort and simplicity reign, gave 
an idea of that sweet and serene state of Happiness which 
i^ypears to have taken refuge in the New World, after com- 
pounding it with Pleasure, to which it has left the Old." His 
local facts correspond with our experience of the town, which 
he describes as " pent between two chains of hills, one to the 
north and the other to the southwest, which causes an insup- 
portable heat in summer ; and it is exposed to the northwest 
wind, which rakes it from one end to the other, and renders it 
extremely cold in winter. Of the original source of its wealth 
to the inhabitants, he says they " carry on the Guinea trade- 
buy slaves and carry them to the West Indies, where they 
take bills of exchange on old England, for which they receive 
woollen stuffs and other merchandise." He never fails to 
note the accommodations at the inns, and is minute in com- 
ments on female character and appearance ; thus, describing a 
maiden at a house where he tarried in Rhode Island, he says : 
" Hiis young person had, like all American women, a very 
decent, nay, even serious carriage ; she had no objection to 
be looked at, nor to have her beauty commended, nor even to 
receive a few caresses, provided it was done without an air 


of familiarity or libertinism. Licentious manners, in fact, 
are so foreign in America, that freedom itself there bears a 
character of modesty." He remarks, as a striking circum- 
stance, that in every house he found books which were evi- 
dently read ; a " town " in America, he observes, means " a 
few houses grouped round a church and tavern." The obsta- 
cles to travelling he finds incessant, having often to cross fer- 
ries and to transport provisions and baggage on carts; he 
alludes to a landlady's expression that she could not spcare one 
bed, as a local idiom. The chief man at Hartford, in those 
days, was Colonel Wadsworth. The Marquis was his guest, 
and speaks of his honesty as commissary to supply the French 
troops, and of the high regard in which he was held by Wash- 
ington and Lafayette. Of Governor Trumbull he says : " He 
has all the simplicity in his dress, all the importance and even 
pedantry, becoming the chief magistrate of a small republic. 
He brought to my mind the burgomasters of Holland in the 
time of the Bamevelts." He examined manufactures, con- 
versed with intelligent men, noted the " lay of the land," and 
estimated local resources ; he was delighted at the sight of a 
bluebird, and descants upon the limited nomenclature which 
designated every water bird as a duck, from the teal to the 
bla<ck duck, distin^guishing them only by the term "red," 
" wood," <fcc. ; and calling cypress, firs, &c., aU pine trees. 
He is impressed with the sight of " mountains covered with 
woods as old as the creation ;" thinks always of Bufibn as so 
many objects of natural history come in view; and expe- 
riences a sensation of wonder when, in the midst of " ancient 
deserts," he comes upon traces of a " settlement ; " the process 
thereof he describes — ^how the rude hut gives place to the 
wooden house, the woods to the clearing ; and then comes 
a piece of tilled land, and more trees are girdled and 
other roofs are raised, at which neighbors " assist " " with no 
other recompense than a barrel of cider or a gallon of rum." 
" Such are the means," he adds, " by which North America, 
only a hundred years ago a vast forest, is pco})led with three 
millions of inhabitants." As illustrative of the equality of 


ocmdition and persoDal independence, he speaks of the indif- 
ferent reception often met with at the inns, where travellers 
often give " more trouble than money," and of the custom 
of the country, when a public house is not at hand, for the 
trayeUer to daim and pay for byway hospitality. He com- 
pares this conduct with the obsequious manners of innkeepers 
m France, and accounts for it by the fact that; in this primi- 
tiye oonununity, '' innkeepers are independent of their voca- 
tion.'^ He found broken panes conmion, and glazier^ rare ; 
be is enraptured with the scenery of the Housatonic, and the 
Hudson Highlands. Amid the latter he is saluted with thir- 
teen guns as major-general, by General Heath, then in com- 
mand there, the edioes whereof are marvellous ; the scene of 
Arnold's treason inspires him with grave thoughts; he de- 
scribes the batteries, praises the officer in command, and ad- 
mires the magnificent view. " The guns they fired," he says, 
^had belonged to Burgoyne's army." Here he is entertained 
by the officers, enjoys their reminiscences of the war, and talks 
over the treason of Arnold, then but two years old ; he visited 
Smith's house, and reflects earnestly on this memorable inci- 
dent: *^in this warlike abode," he declares, ^'one seems 
transported to the bottom of Thrace, and the dominions of 
the god Mars ; " thence he goes to Lafayette's camp, and notes 
deUuls as to the state of the army ; on seeking his first inter- 
view with Washington, he finds him talking with his officers 
in a farmyard, ^' a tall man, five feet nine inches high, of a 
noble and mild countenance ; *' by the chief he is immediately 
presented to Knox, Wayne, Hamilton, and others. After 
three days of delightful intercourse with the leaders of the 
American army at headquarters, he breakfasts with Lord Stir- 
ling, and, upon taking leave of Washington, is presented by him 
with a horse, of which he stood in much need ; and proceeds 
to New Jersey, where he visits the battle fields of Trenton, 
Monmouth, and Princeton ; at the latter place idsiting Dr. 
Witherspoon, the head of the college ; and enjoying the novel 
carols of a mocking bird. " Addison said," he writes, " in 
visiting the different monuments of Italy, that he imagined 


himself on classic gronnd; all my steps were on martial 
ground ; I went, in the same morning, to see two fields of 
battle." He finds the custom of giving toasts and speeches 
at table very irksome ; and, in allusion to Governor Living- 
ston, of New Jersey, remarks, " I have often had occasion to 
observe there is more of ceremony/ than of compltment in 
.America," a discriminating view of the manners of that time. 
At Philadelphia, the Marquis notes his intercourse with Reed, 
whose correspondence with Washington so fully illustrates 
the anxious perplexities of that immaculate patriot's life dur- 
ing the war ; he speaks of a visit to Dr. Franklin's daughter, 
Mrs. Bache, whom ho found " simple in her manners, like her 
respectable father, and possessed of kindred benevolence of 
disposition ; " Robert Morris he describes as a ^^ large man, 
very simple in his manners, but his mind is subtile and acute ; 
his head is perfectly well organized, and he is as well versed 
in public affairs as in his own ; a zealous republican and an 
Epicurean philosopher, he has always played a distinguished 
part at table and in business." He enjoyed inter\»iews with 
Rittenhouse and Tom Paine, and had a talk on government 
with Samuel Adams. Nothing can be imagined more oppo- 
site than the social code of a Frenchman and a Quaker, the 
one having such excessive faith in manner and dealing so 
fluently in verbal courtesies, and the other repudiating both 
as inimical to spiritual integrity. Yet there is no trait of 
the American character, as then exhibited, which won more 
sincere admiration from this soldier and nobleman than its 
simplicity ; it is the constant theme of his eulogy ; but Ubia 
beautiful quality did not strike him as spontaneous and can- 
did in the Quakers whom he met in the city of brotherly 
love : " The law," he writes, " observed by this sect, of neither 
using f/ou nor sir, is far from giving them a tone of simplici- 
ty and candor ; they in general assume a smooth and whee- 
dling tone, which is altogether Jesuitical." Philadelphia, it 
would appear from the experience of the Marquis, was as 
famous then as now for its market and household comfort ; 
for he expresses a fear lest the " pleasures of Capua should 


m^ke him forget the campaigns of Hamiibal ; " be therefore 
determines to leave the luxury of the city, and explore the 
recent battle fields of Germantown and Brandywine. 

The public beneficence of Philadelphia, as indicated by the 
endowment of hospitals and corrective institutions, had al- 
ready become a marked feature ; but the Marquis comments 
on a defect, soon after remedied — ^the absence of a public 
walk. Mnton, Addison, and Richardson he found the authors 
chiefly read by the young women ; and so universal was the 
interest in and knowledge of civic affidrs, that he declares 
that ** all American conversation must finish with politics." 
His winter journey to Saratoga was a formidable undertak- 
ing, or would have been to a gentleman unfamiliar with the 
liardy discipline of the camp ; its principal episodes of interest 
were the view of Cohoes Falls, and a visit to General Schuy- 
ler, just aftier the marriage of his daughter with Hamilton ; 
he inspected some interesting documents revealing the actual 
condition of Canada, and expatiates on the novel excitement 
and exposure of what he calls a '^ sledge ride." With the 
present byway scenery of the railroad which intersects the 
central part of New York State, it is instructive to read his 
aoeoont of that region, through which, by slow stages, he 
penetrated from town to fort and through a snow-shrouded 
wilderness. " The coimtry," he tells us, " which lies between 
Albany and Schenectady, is nothing but an immense forest 
of pine trees, untouched by the hatchet. They are lofty and 
robust ; and, as nothing grows in their shade, a line of cavalry 
might traverse the wood vnthout breaking their line or defil- 
ing.^ Schenectady cont^dned then but five hundred houses 
" within the palisades ; " diverging from his road, he visited a 
Mohawk settlement, a few straggling descendants of which 
tribe the traveller of to-day still encounters, in that vicinity, 
among the peddling hcMtuSs of the railway cars. He also 
saw, on the way to Fort Edward, the house formerly the 
home of the imfortunate Jane McRea; startled a bevy of 
quails, and, at a wayside inn, saw a girl ^^ whom Greuze would 
hare been happy to have taken as a model ; " while, on his 


chamber table, he found an abridgment of Newton's PhUoso- 
phy, and discovered that his landlord, a surveyor by profes- 
sion, and incessantly occupied in measuring land, was well 
versed in Physics. The Marquis, after thus journeying 
through the northern section of the country, observing its 
peculiarities, seeking the acquaintance of its leading men, and 
visiting the scenes of the war, yet fresh in association and 
destined to become memorably historical, rejoined the French 
army then stationed at Newport, R. L, whence, after a brief 
interval, he started on a Southern expedition. 

The Marquis thus records his method of setting out on a 
journey into Virginia, eighty-four years ago : " On the eighth 
of the month I set out with Mr. Lynch, then my aide-de-camp 
and adjutant, now general ; Mr. Frank Dillon, my second aide, 
and Mons. la Chevalier d'Oyre, of the engineers, six servants, 
and a led horse composed our train ; so that our little caravan 
consisted of four masters, six servants, and eleven horses." 
At the very outset of the expedition he notes that capricious 
state of the climate which in our country so often blends the 
aspect of different seasons ; writing of the month of April, he 
says : ^^ I regretted to find summer in the heavens, while the 
earth afforded not the smallest appearance of spring;" the 
devastations of war were yet fresh ; he sojourned atn house 
which " had been pillaged by the English ; they had taken the 
very boots off the owner's legs." On this journey he first 
made acquaintance with a mocking bird, and gives a lively 
description of its performance: "Apparently delighted at 
having an auditor, it kept hopping from branch to branch, aiid 
imitated the jay, lapwing, raven, cardinal, &c." He finds " a 
garden in the English style ; " court houses usually in the cen- 
tre of counties ; daughters of the isolated planters, " pretty 
nymphs, more timid and wild than Diana ; " and, approaching 
the South, observes a different kind of popular amusement and 
of traffic than prevailed in New England, especialy cock fight- 
ing and horse trading ; he is struck with the conjugal epithet of 
his landlord, who calls his wife " honey," which he regards as 
synonymous with the French term of endearment — mon peUi 


eoeur ; with him the transition from gallant to economical 
details is easy, and, traversing the then sparsely inhabited 
region comprised within and around the State of Virginia, he 
observes the frequent instances, among the inhabitants, of 
'^patriarchal agriculture, which consists in producing only 
what is sufficient for their own consumption ; '' and remarks 
that ^ niuls are the articles most wanted in these new colo- 
nies ; for the axe and saw can supply every other want." He 
visits Monticello, a name signifying little mountain, though 
he finds it a big one, and the house of Jefferson '^ in the 
Italian style, and more architectural than any in the coun- 
try;" while the master thereof elicits all his enthusiasm: 
** Let me describe," he writes, " a man not yet forty — tall, 
and with a mild and pleasant countenance ; but whose mind 
and understanding are ample substitutes for every exterior 
grace ; an American who, without ever having quitted his 
own country, is at once a musician, skilled in drawing, a 
natural philosopher, legislator, and statesman. Before I had 
been two hours with him, we were as intimate as if we had 
passed our whole lives together ; walking, books, but, above 
all, conversation always varied and interesting, made four 
days pass away like so many minutes." The twain grew elo- 
quent about Ossian over a bowl of punch, and speculated 
upon the genus of American deer, which Jefferson fed with 
Indian com, and the Marquis describes as half roebuck and 
half English deer. They also engaged in a meteorological 
discussion, and expatiated on the advantages for observations 
in this then embryo science, afforded by the extent and va- 
riety of the American climate. Jefferson stated some inter- 
esting results of his observations as to the effect of woods in 
breaking clouds and absorbing exhalations. Political and 
social questions were not forgotten by the two philosophers : 
" A Virginian," writes the Marquis, " never resembles a Euro- 
pean peasant ; he is always a freeman, participates in the gov- 
ernment, and has the command of a few negroes, so that, 
uniting in himself the two qualities of citizen and master, he 
perfectly resembles the bulk of individuals who formed what 


were called the ^ people ' in the ancient republics." He also 
expresses the conviction that ^^ the dignity of man is rela- 
tiye ; " and is struck with the superior riflemen of the Vir- 
ginia militia ; he flnds novel sport in shooting a wood hen, 
and discovers quite an ideal rustic in the person of a hand- 
some miller : ^^ He was a young man, twenty-two years of 
age, whose charming face, fine teeth, red lips, and rosy cheeks 
recalled to mind the pleasant portrait whic^ Marmontel ^ves 
of Lubin." The alternation of pastoral, patriarchal, and aris- 
tocratic manners, the aboriginal traditions, the grand econom- 
ical resources observed, and frequent personal discomfort ex- 
perienced, offered to his \houghtful, susceptible, and adventu- 
rous mind constant subjects of interest — a vivid contrast with 
the society and condition of the Old World, a freshnef s and 
freedom combined with hardihood and privation, an originality 
of character and vast promise for humanity ; the primitive and 
the cultivated elements of life were brought into frequent 
contact ; and the urbane and inteUigent French officer seems 
to have had an eye and a heart for all around him suggestive 
of the past or prophetic of the future. By a most toilsome 
and perplexing access, he visited the Natural Bridge of Vir- 
ginia ; delighted with this wonderful structure, he measured 
its dimensions with care, and speculated upon its formation 
with curiosity ; it excited in his mind a kind of '^ melancholy 

Another characteristic scene which impressed him was a 
conflagration in the woods — a feature of the landscape which, 
to his European vision, was ever fraught with interest ; he 
records his appreciation of the ^' strong, robust oaks and im- 
mense pines, sufficient for all the fleets of Europe," which 
" here grow old and perish on their native soil." He is much 
struck with the cheerful spirit with which emigration goes on 
in the New World, when he encounters, in the lonely wild, 
a buoyant adventurer " with only a horse, saddle bags, cash 
to buy land, and a young wife ; " of the latter he observes : 
'' I saw, not without astonishment, that her natural charms 
were even embellished by the serenity of her mind." The 


impoitanoe to a traveller of a love of nature and an eye for 
diaracter, is signally manifest in the American travels of 
Chastellox. To one destitute of these resources the journey 
thus described would have been irksome, through its mo- 
notony and discomfort. But the vivacious and amiable 
Frendi officer found novelty in the wild creatures, the vegeta- 
tion, and the people he encountered ; he was constantly alive 
to the fact that he was traversing a new country, and there- 
fore bound to observe all its phases ; it is surprising how 
much he discovered to awaken pleasant memories of his 
studies and experience in Europe ; how the charms of nature 
suggested reminiscences of art, and the individuality of char- 
acter recalled the celebrities of other eras and climes. A vul- 
gar mind, an ignorant man, would have hastened through the 
rude domain, and sought amusement only in the more settled 
and populous districts ; but the resources and character of 
the country, the eminent among its inhabitants, their sacred 
straggle for freedom, and the vast possibilities incident to 
such an extent of territory and to a great political experiment, 
quickened the sympathies and enlisted the careful observation 
of the cultivated soldier. The rabbit that runs across his 
woodland path, the delicate pink blossoms of the peach trees 
in a settler's orchard, the novel sight of a marmoset caught by 
the way, a fat and original landlord, tobacco " as a circulating 
mediiun," and the magnificent prospect from the summit of 
the Blue Ridge, suffice to ^ occupy and interest. A fair Vir- 
ginian recalls to his mind " those beautiful Virgins of Raph- 
ael ; '* he is agreeably surprised at the opportunity of prac- 
tising Italian vrith a cook of that nation he finds in a Rich- 
mond inn, and is eloquent in describing the humming bird, 
and precise in delineating the sturgeon ; repeats the story of 
Pocahontas amid the local traditions that endear her memory, 
and thinks one " must be fatigued with hearing the name of 
Randolph while travelling in Virginia." It would appear 
that " yoimg America " was as real then as now : " The youth 
of both sexes," he says, " are more forward and ripe than 
with us ; and our maturity is more prolonged." Still he finds 


spedal charmfl in the Old Dominion, and thinks the inhabit- 
ants of Virginia best situated of all the colonists under the 
English Gk)vemment. "The Government," he adds, "may 
become democratic at the present moment ; but the national 
character, the spirit of the Government itself, will always be 
aristocratic ; it was originally a *' company ' composed of the 
mea most distinguished for their rank and birth." He appre- 
ciates the diversity of political origin and local character in 
the different sections of the country ; observing that New 
England was settled "to escape arbitrary power" — New 
York and the Jerseys by necessitous Dutchmen, " who occu- 
pied themselves more about domestic economy than the pub- 
lic government ; " that of Pennsylvania he considers a " gov- 
ernment of property — feudal, or, if you will, patriarchal." He 
describes the domestic luxury of the Virginians as con- 
sisting in " furniture, linen, and plate, in which they resemble 
our ancestors, who had neither cabinets nor wardrobes in their 
castles, but contented themselves with a well-stored cellar and 
a handsome buffet.^'* In analyzing their domestic life, he 
makes the just and suggestive remark, " they are very fond of 
their infants^ but care little for their children^^ which trait» 
in a measure, explains the facility with which families dis- 
perse, and the early separation of households, wherein our 
civilization is so different from that of the Old World. It is 
both curious and instructive, at this moment, when her soil 
has been stained and furrowed by contending armies, which 
rebellious slaveholders evoked by violence because of an indi- 
rect and legitimate interference with " property in man," to 
note the calm statement of this disinterested traveller, after free 
intercourse with all classes of Virginians, eighty years ago : 
" They seem afflicted," he writes, " to have any slavery, and 
are constantly talking of abolishing it, and of contriving 
some other means of cultivating their estates ; " the motives 
thereto, he says, are various — ^young men being thus disposed 
from "justice and the rights of humanity," while " fathers 
complain that the maintenance of their negroes is very ex- 


The Marquis, in a snbseqnent joomey, after yifiiting Con- 
Qoid, made a carefiil observation of Dorchester and Bunker 
Bin ; and, in reference to the battle at the latter place, he 
^^emirks that ^ without the protection of the shipping, the 
British oonld not have embarked to return from Bmiker Hill ; 
tie little army in Boston would, in that case, have been almost 
totally destroyed, and the town must, of course, have been 
e?acuated. But what would have been the result of this ? 
Independence was not then declared, and the road to negotia^ 
tion was still open ; an accommodation might have taken place 
between the colonies and the mother country, and animosities 
might have subsided.'^ While at Portsmouth, N. H., on Sun- 
day, he attended church, and heard the father of one of Bos- 
ton's most endeared young divines ; his comment on the dis- 
course is characteristic both of the writer and of the times : 
^ The audience was not numerous, on account of the severe 
oold ; but I saw some handsome women, elegantly dressed. 
Mr. Buekminster, a young minister, spoke with a great deal 
of grace, and reasonably enough for a preacher. I could not 
help admiring the address with which he introduced politics 
into his sermon.'' One of those old-fashioned brick dwellings, 
with front yard, wide portal, and broad staircase, wherein of 
yore abode the colonial aristocracy of New England, still 
stands, with its venerable trees, in this pleasant town ; and is 
still the abode of genial hospitality; there our traveller 
" drank tea at Mr. Langdon's ; " and, impressed with the pros 
perous situation and evident wealth of the place, he declares 
** there is every appearance of its becoming to New England 
what the other Portsmouth is to old." To those familiar 
with the old localities and associations of Boston, it is not un- 
interesting to know, from the journal of the Marquis, that, 
when, in 1782, he visited the metropolis of New England, he 
first " alighted at Mr. Brackett's, the Cromwell's Head inn ; 
and, after dinner, went to the lodgings proposed for me, at 
Mr. Colson's, a glover, in the Main street." In the evening 
be attended the " association ball," which, he tells us, " was 
opened by the Marquis de Yaudreuil with Mrs. Temple ; and 

74 AMEmOA Am) hsb ookmbntatobs. 

that '^ the prettiiest of the women dancers were Mrs. Jands, 
her sister Mrs. Betsy Broom, and Mrs. Whitmore." He calls 
on Hancock, who is too ill with the goat to see him ; but is 
more fortmiate in finding Dr. Willard, president of Cam- 
bridge Uniyersity ; he meets Mrs. Tador, Mrs. Morton, and 
Mrs. Swan at a party ; drinks t^a with Mrs. Bowdoin, and 
finds the younger lady of that name ^^ has a mild and agree- 
able countenance, and a character corresponding with her 
appearance ; " he dines with Mr. Breck ; of Mrs. Temple he 
writes : ^^ Her figure is so distinguished as to make it neces- 
sary to pronoimce her truly beautiful ; " and describes a girl 
of twelve he meets at the house of one of his Boston acquaint- 
ance as ^^ neither a handsome child nor a pretty woman, but 
rather an angel ; " he notes " feather beds " as a local pecu- 
liarity ; and praises the skill of Dr. Jarvis, and the wisdom 
of Dr. Cooper. 

The Marquis of Chastellux, as we have seen, took leave of 
Washington at Newburgh, in the " parlor on the right " as 
you enter the low-roofed stone farmhouse, now preserved 
there as national property, and consecrated as the ^' head- 
quarters" of our peerless chief; "it is not diflScult,*' writes 
the French officer, " to imagine the pain this separation gave 
me ; but I have too much pleasure in recollecting the real 
tenderness with which it afiected him, not to take a pride in 
mentioning it." If an ardent yet judicious appreciation of his 
character merited such regrets at parting, few of his foreign 
friends deserved it more than Chastellux, whose written por- 
trait of the American leader was the most elaborate and dis- 
criminating of contemporary delineations ; familiar as it is, 
we cannot better take leave of the courteous and intelligent 
nobleman and soldier than by quoting it : 

" Hero would be the proper place to give the portrait of General 
Washington ; but what can my testimony add to the idea already 
formed of him ? The continent of North America, from Boston to 
Charleston, is a great volume, every page of which presents his eulo- 
^nm. I know that having had the opportunity of a near inspection, 
and of 9losely observing him, some more particular details may be 


ezpeotod from me ; bnt the B^ngest characteristio of this respected 
man is the perfect union which reigns between the physical and 
moral qualities which compose the indiyidual : one alone will enable 
70U to judge of all the rest. If you are presented with medals of 
CflBsar, of Tngan, or Alexander, on examining their features you will 
be led to ask what was their stature and the form of their persous : 
but, if you discover in a heap of rnins the head or the limb of an an- 
tique ApoUo, be not anxious about the other parts, but rest assured 
that they were all Qonformable to those of a god. Let not this com- 
parison be attributed to enthusiasm. I wish only to express the im- 
pression General Washington has left on my mind ; the idea of a 
perfect whole — which cannot be the product of enthusiasm, but 
would rather reject it, since the effect of proportion is to diminish 
the idea of greatness. Brave without temerity, laborious without 
ambition, generous without prodigality, noble without pride, virtuous 
without severity — ^he seems always to have confined himself within 
those limits where the virtues, by clothing themselves in more lively 
but less changeable and doubtful colors, may be mistaken for faults. 
This is the seventh year that ho has commanded the army, and that 
he has obeyed the Congress ; more need not be said, especially in 
America, where they know how to appreciate all the merit contained 
in this simple fact. Let it be repeated that Cond6 was intrepid, Tu- 
renne prudent, Eugene adroit, Catinat disinterested. It is not thus 
that Washington will be characterized. It will be said of him, at the 
end of a long civil war, he had nothing with which he could reproach 
himself. If anything can be more marvellous than such a character 
it is the unanimity of the public suffrages in his favor. Soldier, 
magistrate, people— all love and admire him ; all speak of him in 
terms of tenderness and veneration. Does there then exist a virtue 
capable of restraining the injustice of mankind, or a glory and hap* 
piness too recently established in America for Envy to have deigned 
to pass the seas ? 

" In speaking of this perfect whole, of which General Washington 
fumiahes the idea, I have not excluded exterior form. His stature 
is noble and lofty ; ho is well made and exactly proportioned ; his 
physiognomy mild and agreeable, but such as to render it impossible 
to speak particularly of any of his features, so that, in quitting him, 
you have only the recollection of a fine face. lie has neither a grave 
nor a familiar air; his brow is sometimes marked with thought, but 
never with inquietude ; in inspiring respects, he inspires confidence, 
and his smile is always the smile of benevolence.^^ 

Nor did the Marquis fail to remember his American 
friends and advocate their country when returned to hiB 


own. He translated the Address to the American Armies, 
written in heroio verse, in 1782, by Colonel Hnmphreys ; and, 
in a letter to Franklin, dated at Paris, June 21st, 1786, he says : 
" When you were in France there was no need praising the 
Americans ; for we had only to say, ^ Look, here is their repre- 
sentative.' But, however worthily your place may have since 
been filled, it is not imreasonable to arouse anew the interest 
of a kind-hearted but thoughtless nation. Such haB been my 
motive in translating Colonel Humphrey's poem. My success 
has fully equalled and even surpassed my expectations. Not 
only has the public received the work with favor, but it has 
succeeded perfectly at court, especially with the king and 
queen, wfib have praised it highly." 

L'Abb6 Robin was a chaplain in the Count Rocharabeau's 
army. He writes in the some genial strain as most of his 
countrymen, with the peculiar kind of observation and tone 
of sentiment which marks almost all French travels. He was 
touched and repelled, at the same time, by the domestic life 
of New England — its religious teachings and exemplary duti- 
fulness ; while he laments the fragile beauty of her daughters, 
and speaks of rum as the commodity which served as a con- 
necting link between Yankeeland and the French colonies. 
Sunday in the Puritan capital, impresses him strongly, and he 
discovers, by the dates on the tombstones, that the women 
there are short lived; the following letter, dated Boston, 
14th June, 1781, is a fair specimen of the Abbe's manner of 
viewing things, while it is a curious picture of the " hub of 
the universe " eighty years ago : 

'* At last, after two more days of anxiety and peri], and of sickness 
to mo, a favorable breeze sprang up and brought ns safely into the 
roadstead of Boston. In this roadstead, stndded with pleasant islands, 
we saw, over the trees on the west, the houses rising amphitheatre- 
like, and forming along the hillsides a semicircle of nearly half a 
league ; this was the town of Boston. 

'* The high regular buildings, intermingled with steeples, appear- 
ed to us more like a long-established town of the continent than that 
of a recent colony. The view of its interior did not dissipate the 
opinion which was formed at first sight. A fine mole or pier projects 


into the harbor about two thousand feet, and shops and warehonsee 
line its whole length. It commnnicates at right angles with the prin- 
cipal street of the town, which is long and wide, curving round to- 
ward the water ; on this street are many fine houses of ttoo and three 
it&riee. The appearance of the buildings seems strange to European 
ejes ; being built entirely of wood, they have not the dull and heavy 
appearance which belongs to those of our continental cities ; they are 
regular and well lighted, with frames well Joined, and the outside 
covered with slight, thinly-planed boards, overlapping each other 
somewhat like the tiles upon our roofs. The exterior ia generally 
painted of a grayiah color, which gives an agreeable aspect to the 

*' The furniture is simple ; sometimes of costly wood, after the 
English fashion ; the rich covering their floors with woollen carpets 
or rush matting, and others with fine sand. 

^^ The town contains about six thousand houses, or nearly thhrty 
thousand inhabitants, with nineteen churches of all denominations. 
Some of the churches are very fine, especially those of the Presbyte- - 
rian and Episcopal societies. They are generally oblong, ornamented 
with a gallery and famished with pews throughout, so that the poor 
as well as the rich may hear the gospel with much comfort. 

^^ The Sabbath is here observed with much rigor. All kinds of 
bosiness, however important, cease ; and even the most innocent 
pleasures are not allowed. The town, so fall of life and bustle during 
the week days, becomes silent like the desert on that day. If one 
walks the streets, he scarcely meets a person ; and if perchance he 
does, he will hardly dare to stop and speak. 

** A countryman of mine, lodging at the same inn with me, took 
it into his head one Sunday to play a little upon his flute ; but the 
neighborhood became so incensed that our landlord was obliged to 
acquaint him with their uneasiness. 

« '* If you enter a house, you will generally find each member of the 
household engaged in reading the Bible ; and it is a very interesting 
and touching sight to see a parent, surrounded by his family, reading 
and explaining the sublime truths of the sacred volume. 

*^ If you enter a temple of worship, you find a perfect stillness 
reigns, and an order and behavior which are not found generally in 
our Catholic churches. 

^^ The singing of the Psalms is slow and solemn, and the words of 
the hymns being in their native tongue, serves to increase the inter- 
est and engage the attention of the worshippers. The churches are 
without ornament of any kind ; nothing there speaks to the mind or 
heart ; nothing to recall to man why he comes there, or what shall 


be his hope of the fdture. Sculpture and painting trace no sacred 
events there to remind him of his daties or awaken his gratitude." 

His Nbuveau Voyage dans rAmerique Septentrionale en 
Pannee 1781, consists of thirteen letters, which were published 
in Paris in 1782. Of Boston trade at the period he says : 

" The commerce of the Bostonians embraced many objects, and 
was very extensive before the war. They ftirnished Great Britain 
with masts and yards for the royal navy. They constructed by 
commission, or on their account, a great number of merchant 
, vessels, renowned for their superior speed. In short, their construc- 
tion is so light that it is not necessary to be a great connoisseur to 
distinguish their vessels in the midst of those of other nations. Those 
which they freighted at their own expense were loaded, for the 
American islands or for Europe, with timber, clapboards, pitch, tar, 
turpentine, rosin, cattle and swine, and some peltry. But their 
principal article of commerce was the codfish which they found near 
their coast, and particularly in the Bay of Massachusetts. This fish- 
ery amounted to fifty thousand quintals, which they ex])orted to the 
other New England provinces, and even to Spain, Italy, and the Med- 
itf rranean. Those of the poorest quality were destined for the ne- 
groes of the islands. They employ a large number of men, who make 
excellent mariners. The province of Massachusetts, which has a poor 
soil, will always be powerful, owing to this branch of commerce ; and 
if one day this new continent spreads its formidable forces upon the 
sea, it is Boston that will first advance. In exchange for this mer- 
chandise, they bring back the wines of Madeira, Malaga, and Oporto, 
which they prefer to ours, on account of their mildness, and perhaps 
also from the effect of habit. They take from the islands a good quan- 
tity of sugar, which they use for their tea, which the Americans drink 
at least twice a day ; they also bring from there a greater quantity 
of molasses, which they distil into rum, their ordinary beverage. 
The importation was so considerable, that before the war it was 
only worth two shillings a gallon. 

" Their fishery, their commerce, and the great number of vessels 
which they build, have made them the coasters of all the Northern 

^* It is estimated that in 1748 five hundred vessels cleared at this 
port for a foreign trade, and four hundred and thirty entered it ; and 
about one thousand vessels were employed in the coasting trade. It 
appears, however, from the statement of an Englishman, that their 
commerce has declined. In 1788, they constructed in Boston forty- 


one ships, making a total of 6,824 tons ; in 1748, thirty-eight were 
built ; in 1746, twenty ; in 1749, fifteen, making in total 2,450 tons. 
This dimination of the commerce of Boston arises, probably, from the 
new settlements formed along the coast, which 'attract to themselves 
tlie different branches that their situation may render most.favorable. 
" The great consumption of rum by the Americans induced them 
to establish commercial relations with the French colonies ; our 
wines and hrandy rendering this liquor little used by us, they flatter- 
ed themselves with bringing the molasses to a better use. This speo- 
ulation resulted beyond their expectations ; they had only to give in 
exchange wood and salt provisions.^' 

The following obserrations indicate the feeling and rela- 
tions between our countrymen and their Gallic allies : 

'* It is diflicult to imagine the opinion that the Americans enter- 
tained of the French before the war. They regarded them as enslav- 
ed under the yoke of despotism^ delivered up to prejudices and super- 
stitions, almost idolaters in their worship, incapable of firmness and 
stability, and occupied only with curling tbeir hair and painting their 
faces ; unfeeling, faithless — ^not even respecting the most sacred du- 
ties. The English were eager to spread and strengthen these preju- 
dices. Presbyterianism [Congregationalism], an implacable enemy 
of Catholicism, has made the Bostonians, where tliis sect is dominant, 
still more disposed to this opinion. 

'* All seemed, at the commencement of the war, to confirm these 
views. Most of the Frenchmen who first came to America at the 
rumor of revolution, were men involved in debts and rained in repu- 
tation, who announce themselves with titles and fictitious names, 
obtained great distinction in the American army, received consideraF> 
ble advance money, and suddenly disappeared. 

"The simplicity of the Americans and their inexperience ren- 
dered these impositions easy. Many of these adventurers even com- 
mitted crimes worthy of the scaffold. The first merchandise that the 
Bostonians received from France contributed again to support them 
in these notions, so unfavorable to our honesty an^ industry. Even 
at the present time, French goods are sold, for this reason, at a much 
lower price than English goods of the same quality. 

" On the arrival of M. le Count d'Estaing, the people were very 
much astonished not to see frail and deformed men. They believed 
that these had been expressly chosen to give them a more advanta- 
geous idea of the nation. Some with over-florid faces, whose toilet 
was careless, convinced them that we made use of rouge. 


'^NotwithstandiDg my being a Frenchman and Catholic priest, I 
reoeive daily new civilities in many good families of this city. But 
the people still retain their first prejudices. I have lately seen a 
proof of this in an event which has at the same time served to make 
me better acquainted with their character. The house where I 
lodged took fire; it belonged to a Frenchman. One can imagine 
what emotion this sight would produce in a city built of wood. The 
people ran thither in crowds, but when they arrived there, they re- 
mained only spectators of the scene. I caused the doors to be closed, 
in order to arrest the currents of air, and sealed the chimney, whence 
the fire was, hermetically with a wet cloth, causing water to be 
poured upon it without intermission, that it might retain its damp- 
ness. The women of the house were enraged at the sight of their 
flooded and dirty floor. If I had not made myself the master, they 
would have preferred to let the danger increase. 

" The arrival of the army of M. le Count de Rochambeau at Rhode 
Island spread terror there. The country was deserted, and those 
whom curiosity led to Newport found the streets empty. All felt the 
importance of dissipating these prejudices, and exercising self-respecry 
has contributed to this. The superior ofiScers established the strict- 
est discipline ; the other officers employed that politeness and ameni- 
ty whicli has always characterized the French nobility ; the private 
soldier, even, has become gentle and circumspect, and in a yearns so- 
journ here, not one complaint has been made. 

" The French at Newport are no longer a trifling, presumptuous, 
noisy, and ostentatious people ; they are quiet and retiring, limiting 
their society to that of their guests or visitors, that they may become 
daily more dear to them. These young noblemen, whose fortune, 
birth, and court life would naturally lead them to dissipation, luxury, 
and extravagance, have given the first example of simplicity and 
frugality ; they have shown themselves as affable and familiar as if 
they had lived entirely among similar people. This elevated con- 
duct has brought about an entire revolution in the minds of people. 
Even the Tories cannot help loving the French, while blaming the 
oanse which they uphold, and their departure afflicts a thousand 
times more than their arrival alarms.^' 

An interesting evidence of the vast promise, Bocial and 
eoonomical, with which the extent, resources, and political 
proepects of America inspired thoughtful and enthusiastio 
observers at this period, may be found in the characteristic 
expressions of a clergyman, bom in Philadelphia, but of 


Hngaenot origin, whose rhetoric and writing were much 
admired in his own day, and whose name is not wholly unfa- 
miliar in our own, from the circumstance that, at the sugges- 
tion of Samuel Adams, he opened the old Continental Con- 
gress of 1774 with prayer. Three years previously, while 
assistant minister of Christ Church, Philadelphia, were pub- 
lished the Letters of Tamoc Caspipina, in which Jacob Duche 
thus speaks of the country, just before the Reyolution : " My 
attachment to America, I am apt to think, proceeds from the 
prospects of its growing greatness. In Europe, architecture, 
gardening, agriculture, mechanics are at a stand ; the eye is 
weary with perpetual sameness ; after roaming oyer the mag- 
nificence of churches and palaces, we are glad to fix our gaze 
awhile upon a simple farmhouse or straw-built cottage ; we 
feel a particular delight in tracing the windings of a beautiful 
river. The objects of Art, as well as those of Nature, in 
this New World, are, at present, in such a state as affords the 
highest entertainment ; here and there, in the midst of ven- 
erable woods, scarce a century ago the haunts of roaming 
savages, are fields of com and meadows. Within the compass 
of a mile we behold Nature in her original rusticity and Art 
rising by rapid advances. I see learning stripped of all scho- 
lastic pedantry and religion restored to gospel purity." The 
transition state, the strong contrasts, the process of develop- 
ment, and the opportunity of going back to first and true 
principles in civil and social life, hinted at in such views, con- 
stituted the great attraction which the New World offered to 
philosophical and benevolent minds. This it was that urged 
Berkeley's prophetic muse and gracious enterprise, and, a cen- 
tury before, the " Church Militant " declared Oeorge Herbert's 
*' Prophecy," in the " Country Parson," realized in America. 

Duche's reputation, however, has a less amiable and honor- 
able side ; of him it has been written : ^^ He, whose sublime 
prayer as chaplain of the Continental Congress, melted the 
hearts of his audience every time he bent to repeat it, fell 
away from his loyalty, and enjoys the sole infamy of having 
sought to corrupt Washington. While the wretch was pray- 


ing to Almighty God for the saccess of the Revolutioii, his 
heart was black with treason.*' 

One of those extraordinary children of the time who, with- 
out any remarkable endowments or adaptation for the career 
of politics, were whirled into that spfiere of thought and action 
by the tides of the French Pievolution, came to America in 
1788, and, like Ceracchi, the sculptor, not only derived new 
ideas and enthusiasm from his visit, but became a martyr to 
his convictions and the circumstances of his native land. We 
find the record* of his observations in the New World 
quoted with deference by his contemporaries ; it was trans- 
lated more than once into English, f and seems to have been 
more permanently attractive than any other of the several 
political treatises from the same pen ; one of Brissot's biogra- 
phers calls him an ecrivain mediocre et un diamtewr monotone 
et verbeux ; yet, with all his speculative hardihood and French 
sentiment, many of his remarks on our country at the time 
are characteristic and noteworthy. Bom in 1764, at the vil- 
lage of Ouarville, near Chartres, he subsequently modified his 
local appellation into Warville, for the prestige of an English 
name while under sur\'eillance ; placed m the Bastile for the 
hardiesse de sea ecrits contre PinSgalite dee rangs^ he was liber- 
ated through the influence of the Duke of Orleans, whose 
sympathy in his behalf had been excited by Madame de Gen- 
lis ; and the association thus induced led to his marriage with 
one of the ladies of the Duchess and to his embassy to Eng- 
land on a secret mission as lieutenant of police. Having 
vainly sought to advance his fortunes in that country, he 
crossed the ocean early in 1788 ; and, in the foUowing year, 
left our shores on account of the terrible political and social 
crisis which convulsed his own country. He soon became 

* Nouveau Voyage dana les Etats Unis de TAmerique Septentrionale, 
fkit on 1788, 8 vols., Paria, 1791. 

f Brissot dc Warville^s New Travelfl in the United States of America, per- 
fortned in 1788, 8vo., London, 1792. 

Brissot's Travels in the United States in 1788, with ObservationB on the 
GoiiuB of the People and Government, ftc, Svo., 1794. 


prominent as a jonmalist in Paris, was bold and unscrupaloiis 
as an advocate of revolution, and soon drew upon himself 
the bitter attacks of rivals and opponents, one of whom, 
Morande, issued a pamphlet charging Brissot with the basest 
conduct while in England, and proposing to make Briasoter 
the synonyme of Voter. Undaunted by scandal, he took an 
active part in forwarding the petition of the Champa du 
MoTMj whereby he alienated Lafayette, with whom he osten- 
sibly and ardently sympathized ; chosen a deputy, and, on ao- 
connt of his foreign travels, placed on the diplomatic commit- 
tee, Brissot advocated war with Europe, attached himself to 
Delessart, then at the head of foreign affiiirs, and, with the 
disgrace of the latter, became the object of invective from 
Camille Desmoulins and of persecution from Robespierre. 
Brissot reverted to his original theories, denounced those who 
were attached to the king, was accused of federalism, which 
he had defended as the true principle of the American Grov- 
ernm«[it, and of conspiracy against the French republic. He 
drafted the declaration of war against England and Holland ; 
and never ceased, with tongue and pen, to attack the colonial 
proprietors and plead for their slaves ; so that he was consid- 
ered a prime instigator of the St. Domingo insurrection: 
proscribed on the last of May, 1795, he was soon after arrest- 
ed at Moulins, and perished, by the guillotine, during the 
following October. There was something anomalous in his 
character ; of feeble constitution, he was energetic and perti- 
nacious ; an adventurer, he failed to seize opportunities for 
advancing his own interest ; without being a man of pleasure, 
he neglected his wife and children, leaving them without the 
means of subsistence ; of this he sincerely repented at last, and 
died bravely. He accomplished little practical good, while 
convinced he cpuld regenerate his country. His Voyage aux 
EtaU Uhis was first published at Paris in 1791. 

Brissot' expatiates on the religious tolerance he found pre- 
vjuling in Boston in 1788. " Music," he writes, " which was 
proscribed by their divines as a diabolical art, begins to form 
a part of their education ; you hear, in some rich houses, the 


pianoforte." He notes the absence of cafia in that city, and 
the existence of clubs ^^not held at taverns, bnt at each 
other's houses.'* " A favorite amusement," he adds, " is to 
visit the country in parties, and drink tea, spruce beer, and 
cider ; " he notes the " distilleries of rum at Watertown, des- 
tined for the coast of Guinea," and declares that ^^ two mala- 
dies afflict the State — emigration west and manufactures." 
He exults in the sight of his native authors in the library of 
Harvard College : " The heart of a Frenchman palpitates," he 
writes, " to find Racine, Montesquieu, and the Encyclopedic, 
where, a hundred and fifty years ago, smoked the calimiet of 
the savage." Hancock was then Governor, Jarvis the lead- 
ing physician, and Willard president of Harvard College, each 
of whom Brissot seems to have appreciated ; and he compli- 
ments as leaders in Boston society, Wigglesworth, Sullivan, 
Lloyd, Dexter, and Wendall ; he explores Bunker Hill, and 
visits John Adams, whom he compares to Epaminondas. He 
suggests the establishment of diligences in Massachusetts ; and 
describing his journey from Boston to New York, commends 
the white sheets of Spenser and the cheap breakfast at Brook- 
field. He is vexed at the tolls ; sees Colonel Wadsworth at 
Hartford, and remembers that Silas Dean is a native of 
Weathersfield, where the immense fields of onions duly im- 
press him. New Haven interests him as having " produced 
the celebrated poet Trumbull, author of the immortal 
McFingai ; " at Fairfield, " the pleasures of the voyage ended," 
and thenceforth there was ^^ a constant struggle with rocks 
and precipices." At New Rochelle he sees Mr. Jay, and at 
Rye finds an excellent inn. He witnessed Fitch's steamboat 
experiment on the Delaware; and was interested in the 
"places fortified by the English," as he approached New 
York. The market, the blacks, and the Quakers of Philadel- 
phia are subjects of curious observation ; the calnmess and 
the costume of the latter fascinated him to such a degree that, 
for a while, he abjured the use of hair powder and other luxu- 
ries of the toilet ; and describes \idth interest a Quaker farm, 
meeting, and funeral. Of the social characteristics of the 


people, especially in the Eastern States, be thus speaks : ^' La 
propret^ sans luxe est nne des caracteres phjsiognomonique de 
oette puret6 morale ; et cette proprete se retrouve par-tout a 
Boston, dans Phabillement, dans les maisous, dans les eglises ; 
rien de plus charmant que le coup d'oeil d'un eglise ou d'an 
meeting, Je ne me rappellerai jamais sans emotion le plaisir 
que je rassentis, en entendant un fois le respectable ministre 
Clarke qui a succc'de docteur Cooper." But, like most of his 
countrymen who then ^Hsited and described the young re- 
public, his warmest admiration was reserved for ^^ the Father 
of his Country," whom he visited, and thus describes as only 
a Frenchman would: '^This celebrated general is nothing 
more at present than a good farmer. His eye bespeaks great 
goodness of heart ; manly sense marks all his answers, and he 
is sometimes animated in conversation ; but A€ /uzs no charaO' 
terUtic feelings tohich render it difficult to seize him. He 
announces a profound discretion and a great diffidence in him- 
self ; but, at the same time, an unshaken firmness, when once 
he has made a decision. Mis modesty is astonishing to a 
JFVenchman. He speaks of the American war and of his vic- 
tories as of things in which he had no direction. He spoke to 
me of Lafayette with the greatest tenderness." Brissot 
passed three, days at Mount Vernon, and, according to his 
own statement, was ^Moadcd with kindness." The after 
career and melancholy fate of Brissot lends a peculiar interest 
to his narrative ; inconsistently combined and imperfectly 
manifested in his life and nature, we find the pliilosopher and 
the republican (wherein he declared Priestley and Price were 
bis models), the philanthropist, the man of letters, the editor, 
and the politician. He criticized Chastellux^-defended Amer- 
ica ; according to his opponents, ^^ fled with a lie," and yet, 
by undisputed testimony, died with courage. He thought 
our lawyers superior ; and calls Isaiah Thomas the Didot of 
America : associating with Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, and 
other eminent citizens, he learned highly to estimate the in- 
fluence of free institutions upon human character. Among 
other pleasant sojourns in New England he delighted to re- 


member the " Lam^els," where he was entertained by Dr. Dal- 
ton, while on his way from Newburyport up the Merrimac. 
In his apostrophe to this beautiful stream, Whittier gracefully 
alludes to Brissot's enjoyment thereof: 

^^ Its pines above, its waves below, 

The west wind down it blowing, 
As fair as when the yonng Brissot 

Beheld it seaward flowing, — 
And bore its memory o'er the deep 

To soothe a martyr's sadness, 
And fresco, in his troubled sleep, 

His prison walls with gladness/^ 

Brissot, seekiqg to unite economical with social philoso- 
phy, devotes no inconsiderable portion of his work to the 
commerce and commodities of the New World ; like other 
sojourners of that era, he is beguiled into speculative remarks 
as to the maple tree as a substitute for the sugar cane ; coin- 
cident with his visit was the initial^ movement in behalf of the 
negroes, which then enlisted the best sympathies of the new 
republic ; anti-slavery societies had just then been established 
in various parts of the country, and their object was freely 
discussed in regions where, in our day, law and social tyranny 
barred all expression thereon, ^rissot rejoiced in Washing- 
ton's views and purposes in this regard : " It is a task," he 
writes, " worthy of a soul so elevated, so pure, and so disin- 
terested, to begin the revolution in Virginia, to prepare the 
way for the emancipation of the slaves." He was not always 
a true prophet, as for instance, when he remarks : " Albany 
will soon yield in prosperity to a town called Hudson." The 
spectator of two, and the actor and victim in one revolution, 
there is a certain pensive charm in his earnest appreciation of 
the political and social advantages of America : " The United 
States," he declares, '^ have demonstrated that the less active 
and powerful the Government, the more active and powerful 
the people " — a moral fact eminently illustrated by the recent 
history of the nation. He appreciated the essential influence 
of personal character to attain civic prosperity : " There can 


l>e no durable revolution," he obsenres, ^' but where reflection 
marks the operation and matures the ideas : it is among such 
men of principles that you find the true heroes of humanity — 
the Howards, Fothergills, Penns, Franklins, Washingtons, 
Sdneys, and Ludlows." He invokes his erratic countrymen 
who wish for ^* valuable instruction " to ponder his record : 
^ Study the Americans of the present day, and see to what 
degree of prosperity the blessings of freedom can elevate the 
industry of man ; how they dignify his nature and dispose 
him to universal fraternity ; by what means liberty is pre- 
served; and that the great secret of its duration is good 

Thus enthusiastic as a republican, and recognizmg so 
warmly the simplicity of rural and the intrepidity of working 
life in America, Brissot looked with suspicion upon the 
encroachments of fashion and wealth upon manners and 
tastes. It is amusing to read his account of New York and 
find so many coincidences at the present day in her social 
tendencies, and to compare the limited indulgences then prac- 
ticable with the boundless extravagance now so apparent. 
Thus he wrote of the commercial metropolis of the New 
World in 1788 : ^ 

" The presence of Congress, with the diplomatic body and the 
concourse of strangers, contributes much to extend here the ravages 
of laxnry. The inhabitants are far from complaining of it ; they 
prefer the splendor of wealth and the show of enjoyment to the sim- 
plicity of manners and the pure pleasures which result from it. If 
there is a town on the American continent where the English luxury 
displays its follies, it is New York. You will find here the English 
fishions : in the dress of the women you will see the most brilliant 
silks, gauzes, hats, and borrowed hair ; equipages are rare, but they 
are elegant : the men have more simplicity in their dress ; thoy dis- 
dain gewgaws, but they take their revenge in the luxury of the table ; 
loxnry forms already a class of men very dangerous to society ; I mean 
bachelors ; the expense of women causes matrimony to be dreaded 
by men. Tea forms, as in England, the basis of parties of pleasure : 
many things are dearer here than in Franco ; a hairdresser asks 
twenty shillings a month ; washing costs four shillings the dozen/^ 

Lafayette, in his letter introducing Brissot to Washington, 


writes : " He is very clever, and wishes to write the history 
of America.'^ It is a singular coincidence that while he 
praises the inns of the coontry, which were so generally 
complained of by English travellers, he expresses a national 
repugnance to a halnt now so prevalent among his country- 
men as, in the view of some of the late critics, to have essen- 
tially modified their disposition of mind, if not of b>odily tem- 
perament. ^^ The habit of smoking," observes Brissot, in his 
account of New York, " has not disappeared with the other 
customs of their fathers — the Dutch. They use cigars. 
These are leaves of tobacco rolled in the form of a tube six 
inches long, and are smoked without the aid of any instru- 
ment. This usage is revolting to the French, but it has one 
advantage — it favors meditation and prevents loquacity." It 
is characteristic of this writer's political prepossessions that, 
while he found '^decency, neatness, and dignity" in the 
taverns, when dining with General Hamilton he recognized 
in his host the ^' countenance of a determined republican." 

Much ridicule has been expended upon that artificial rural 
enthusiasm which once formed a curious phase of French 
literature, wherein the futile attempt was made to graft the 
ancient Arcadian on the modem rustic enjoyment of nature. 
This incongruous experiment originated in Italy, and found 
its best development in the pastoral verse of Guarini and San- 
nazzaro ; but when the Parisian pleasure-seekers affected the 
crook and simplicity of shepherd life — when box was trimmed 
into the shape of animals and fountains, grottos and bowers, 
in the midst of fashionable gardens, and the scent of musk 
blended with that of pines and roses — the want of genuine 
love of and sympathy with nature became ludicrously appa- 
rent ; the manners and talk of the salon were absurd in the 
grove, and the costume and coquetry of the ballroom were 
reproached by the freedom and calm beauty of woods and 
waters. The hearty love of country life which is an instinct 
of the English, and has found such true and memorable ex- 
pression in the poetry of Great Britain, finds an indifferent 
parallel in the rhymes of Gallic bards or the rural life of the 


gentry of France. But there is a yein of rural taste and feel- 
ing, of a more practical kind, native to the French heart — a 
combination of philosophic content and romance — a love of 
the free, independent life of the wilderness, a capacity of adap- 
tation to new conditions, and a facility in deriving satisfac- 
tion from inartificial pleasures, which, when united to the 
poetical instinct, makes nature and agricultural life a singu- 
larly genial sphere to a Frenchman. The sentiment of this 
experience has been eloquently uttered by St. Pierre, Chateau- 
briand, and Lamartine ; its practical realization was long evi- 
dent in the urbane, cheerful, and tasteful colonists of Canada 
and of the West and South of the United States ; and the 
writings of French travellers there and in the East, abound 
in its graceful commemoration. The literature of American 
travel is not without memorable illustrations thereof; and 
one of the best is a book, which, although the production of 
a Frenchman, was originally written in Fnglish under the title 
of " Letters of an American Farmer." ♦ It is a most pleasing 
report of the possible resources and charms of that vocation, 
when it was far more isolated and exclusively rural than at 
present, when town habits had not encroached upon its sim- 
plicity or fashion marred its independence. Somewhat like a 
prose idyl is this record ; Hazlitt delighted in its naive enthu- 
siasm, and commended it to Charles Lamb as well as in the 
Quarterly, as giving ^' an idea how American scenery and man- 
ners may be treated with a lively poetic interest." "The 
pictures," he adds, " are somewhat highly colored, but they 
are vivid and strikingly characteristic. He gives not only the 
objects but the feelings of a new country." The author of 
this work. Hector St. John Crevecoenr, was of noble birth, a 
native of Normandy, bom in 1731 ; he was sent to England 
when but sixteen years old, which is the cause of his early 
and complete mastery of our language. Li 1754 he came to 
New York, and settled on a farm in the adjacent region. 

* *' Letters from an American Farmer, conveying some Idea of the Late 
and ProaeHt Interior Circumstances of the British Colonies in North America,** 
by J. H. St John CrereooBur, Sro., London, 1782. 


The British troops repeatedly crossed over and lingered upon 
his estate daring the war of the Revolntion, much to his 
annoyance and its detriment. His afiEairs obliged him to 
retnm to France in 1780, and he was allowed to |>a88 throngh 
the enemy's lines in order to embark with one of his family ; 
bat the vessel was intercepted by the French fleet then off 
the coast, and Creveccenr was detained several months under 
suspicion of being a spy. After his release he reembarked for 
Europe, and reached his paternal home safely, after an absence 
of twenty-seven years. In 1783 he returned to New York to 
find his dwelling burned to the ground, his wife dead, and his 
children in the care of friends. 

He brought with him, on his return to America, a commis- 
sion as French consul at New York — a situation which he 
honorably filled for ten years, when, once more returning to 
his native land, he resided at his country seat near Rouen, and 
subsequently at Sarcelles, where he died in 1813. All ac- 
counts agree in describing him as a man of the highest prob- 
ity, the mpst benevolent disposition, rare intelligence, and 
engaging manners. Washington esteemed him ; he made a 
journey in Pennsylvania with Franklin, on the occasion of 
the latter's visit to Lancaster to lay the comer stone of the 
German college. The account of liie incidents and conversa- 
tion during this trip recorded by Crevecceur, are among the 
most characteristic reminiscences of the American philosopher 
extant. His " Letters of an American Farmer " were pub- 
lished in London in 1 782. He translated them into his native 
tongue.* They have a winsome flavor, and picture so delec- 
tably the independence, the resources, and the peace of an 
agricultural life, just before and after the Revolution, in the 
more settled States of America, that the reader of the present 
day cannot feel surprised that he beguiled many an emigrant 
from the Old World to the banks of the Ohio and the Dela- 
ware. But this charm originated in the temper and mind of 
the writer, who ^as admirably constituted to appreciate and 

* " Lettres d*un ColtiTateur Americain, tradoites de PAngloiB,*' 2 rob., 
Sto., Paris, 1784. 


in^TOTe the advantages of snob an experience. He found on 
bk beantifQl farm and among his kindly neighbors, the same 
attractions which Mrs. Grant remembered so fondly of her 
girlhood's home at Albany. Among the best of his letters 
are those extolling the pleasures and feelings of a farmer's 
life in a newcountry, and those doscriptive of Nantucket, 
Martha's Vineyard, and Charleston, the notice of Bartram the 
naturalist, and the account of the Humming Bird. Nor was 
this the author's only contribution to the literature. of Ameri- 
can travel. In 1801, the fruit of his leisure after his final 
retnm to Normandy, appeared in the shape of a work in the 
publication of which he indulged in a curious literary nue. 
It was entitled '^ Voyage dans la haute Pennsylvania et dans 
I'Etat de New York, par un Membre Adoptif de la nation 
Oneida, traduit par I'Auteur des Lettres d'un Cultivateur 
Americain." It needed not this association of his first popu- 
lar venture with this new book of travels in the same coun- 
try, to pierce the thin disguise whereby he announced the 
latter as printed from MSS. found in a wreck on the Elbe ; 
for the author enjoyed the edat of success in the Paris aahna^ 
while elsewhere his kindliness and wisdom made him a great 
&vorite. These two works have the merit and the interest 
of being more deliberate literary productions than any that 
preceded them. There is a freshness and an ardor in the 
tone, which is oflen magnetic ; and in the material, a curious 
mixture of statistics and romance, matter of fact and senti- 
ment, reminding the reader at one moment of Marmontel, and 
at another of Adam Smith ; for it deals about equally in sto- 
ries and economical details : many of the most remarkable 
Indian massacres and border adventures, since wrought into 
history, dramas, and novels, are narrated in these volumes 
fresh from current traditions or recent knowledge. The 
author was on intimate terms with the savages, and had been 
made an honorary member of the Oneida tribe. He gives a 
dear and probably, at the time, a novel account of the differ- 
ent States, their productions, condition, &'c. 

Keenly appreciating the relation of landed property to dti« 


xeiiBhip, exulting in the independence of an agricnltaral life in 
a free country, and^ alive to all the duties and delights of 
domestic seclusion, his letters breathe a wise and grateful 
sense of the privileges he enjoys as an American farmer : 

'' The instant I enter on my own land,*^ he writes, ^* the bright 
idea of property, of exclusive right, of independence, exalts my mind. 
Precious soil, I say to myself, by what singular custom of law is it 
that thou wast made to constitute the riches of the freeholder ? What 
should we American fiEirmerB be without the distinct possession of 
that soil ? It feeds, it clothes us ; from it we draw our great exuber- 
ancy, our best meat, our richest drink — the very honey of our bees 
comes from this privileged spot. No wonder we diould thus cherish its 
possession — ^no wonder that so many Europeans, who have never been 
able to say that such a portion of land was theirs, cross the Atlantic 
to realize that happiness. This formerly rude soil has been converted 
by mj father into a pleasant farm, and in return it has established all 
our rights ; on it is founded our rank, our freedom, our power as 
citizens, our importance as inhabitants of such a district. These 
images, I must confess, I always behold with pleasure, and extend 
them as far as my imagination can reach ; for this is what may be 
called the true and only philosophy of the American farmer. Often 
when I plough my low ground, I place my little boy on a chair 
which screws to the beam of the plough ; its motion and that of the 
horses please him ; he is perfectly happy, and begins to chat As I 
lean over the handle, various are the thoughts which crowd into my 
mind. I am now doing for him, I say, what my father formerly did 
for me : may God enable him to live, that he may perform the same 
operations for the same purposes, ^hen I am worn out and old. I 
release his mother of some trouble while I have him with me ; the 
odoriferous furrow exhilarates his spirits and seems to do the child a 
great deal of good, for he looks more blooming since I have adopted 
the practice : can more pleasure, more dignity be added to that pri- 
mary occupation ? The father, thus ploughing with his child and to 
feed his family, is inferior only to the emperor of China, ploughing 
as an example to his kingdom.^^ 

Very loving and observant are his comments on the aspect, 
habits, and notes of birds ; they remind us of the spirit with- 
out the science of our endeared ornithologists, Audubon and 
Wilson. "I generally rise from bed," writes CreveccBur, 
*^ about that indistinct interval, which, properly speaking, is 



nother nigfat nor day ; for this ifl the moment of the most 
imiyersal vocal choir. Who can listen unmoved to the sweet 
love tales of our robins, told from tree to tree ; or to the shrill 
catbird ? The sublime accents of the thrush from on high, 
always retard my steps that I may listen to the delicious 
muaic." A long discussion with Dr. Franklin during their 
memorable journey in 1787, as to the origin of the abori^nal 
tribes and tiie mounds of the West, which of late years have 
so interested ethnologists, is reported at length by this assidu- 
ous writer ; we thence learn that this new and extended 
interest was foreseen by the venerable philosopher, who re- 
marked to his companion: ^^When the population of the 
United States shall have spread over every part of that vast 
and beautiful region, our posterity, aided by new discoveries, 
may then, perhaps, form more satisfactory conjectures." 

The religion and politics of the country are defined in 
these epistles. The Quakers, the weather, the aspect of the 
land, excursions, speculations, anecdotes, and poetical epi- 
sodes are the versatile subjects of his chronicle : several old- 
fadiioned engraved illustrations give a quaint charm to the 
earlier editions ; domestic /Sto, maJlUe Fanny ^ and the trans- 
planting of a sassafras tree, alternate in the record with re- 
flections on the war of the Revolution, the " Histoire de Rachel 
Bird," and^^La Pere Infortun6 !" There is a naive ardor and 
the genial egotism of a Gallic raconteur and philosopher, in 
the work — which survives the want of novelty in its econom- 
ical details and local descriptions. 

During Crevec<Eur's visit to Normandy, five American 
sailors were shipwrecked on that coast, and he befriended 
them in their great need and peril, with a humane zeal that did 
credit to his benevolent heart. A gentleman of Boston in 
New England was so impressed with this kindness to his 
unfortunate countrymen, that, hearing of the destruction of 
the generous Frenchman's homestead far away, he made 
a long and hazardous journey in search of the deserted chil- 
dren, discovered, and clierished them till the father's arrival 
enabled him to restore them in health and safety. The ardent 


Style of CrevecoBiir^s writings, and that tendency to exaggera- 
tion incident to his temperament, canaed his books to be criti- 
cized with some severity as incorrect, highy colored, and 
prolix ; yet the vital charm and ingenuons sentiment of the 
enthusiast, combined with his tact as a raconteur^ and his love 
of nature and freedom, made these now neglected works pop- 
ular at the time and long subsequent to their original publi- 

One of the most striking instances of the historical value 
of ^authentic and detailed records of travel, is the use which 
philosophical annalists, like De TocqueviUe, have made of 
Arthur Young's observations in France. This intelligent and 
enthusiastic agiicultural writer chronicled, as a tourist, the 
practical workings of the old rigime in regard to the peasant- 
ry and rural districts, so as to demonstrate the vital necessity 
of a revolution on economical and social principles alone. A 
disciple of this writer, whose integrity and patriotism as well 
as painstaking research make up in no small degree for his 
limited scientific knowledge and want of originality, prepared 
a large and well-considered work from a careful survey of the 
American States and their statistics in 1795. The Duke de 
La Rochefoucault-Liancourt commanded at Rouen, when the 
Constituent Assembly, of which he was a member, dissolved; 
subsequently he passed many months in England, and then 
visited this country. His ^^ Voyage dans les Etats XJnis," and 
his efficiency in establishing the use of vaccination in France, 
cause him to be remembered as a man of letters and benevo- 
lence ; he reached a venerable age, and won the highest re- 
spect, although long subject to the unjust aspersions of parti- 
san opponents whom his liberal nature failed to conciliate. 
There is little of novel information to an American reader in 
his voluminous work, except the record of local features and 
social facts, which are now altogether things of the past ; yet 
the fdmess and minute knowledge displayed, account for the 
value and interest attached to this work for many^ years after 
its appearance. It is evident that the Duke de La Rochefou- 
cault travelled as much to beguile himself of the ennui of 


exile and the disappointments of a baffled patriot, as on 
account of his inquiring turn of mind. He occupied himself 
chi^j with economical investigations, especially those con- 
nected with agriculture ; the process whereby vast swamps 
and forests were gradually reduced to tilled and habitable 
domains, interested him in all its stages and results. He 
describes each town, port, and region with care and candor ; 
and it is a pecuharity of his Travels that they contain many 
elaborate accounts of certain farms and estates in different 
sections, whence we derive a very accurate notion of the 
methods and the resources of rural life in America soon after 
the BevolutioD. The Duke was a philosophical traveller, con- 
tent to journey on horseback, making himself as mnch at home 
with the laborer at the wayside as with the gentleman of the 
manor ; and seeking information with frankness and patience 
wherever and however it could be properly acquired. The 
lakes, bays, roads, the markets, manufactures, and seats he 
examines, in a business-like way; complains of all crude 
arrangements, and bears the hardships then inseparable from 
travel here, like a soldier. Indians and rattlesnakes, com and 
tobacco, the Hessian fly, pines, maples, negroes, rice planta- 
tions, orchards, all the traits of rural economy and indigenous 
life, are duly registered and speculated upon. 

He visited, with evident satisfaction, the battle grounds 
of the Revolution, and complacently dwells on Yorktown, 
the grave of Temay at Newport, and the grateful estimation 
in which Lafayette was held. He seems to have well appre- 
ciated our leading men in public life and society ; Jefferson, 
Marshall, Jay, Hamilton, Adams, and Burr figure in his polit- 
ical tableaux, and he was the guest of General Knox, in Maine. 
He sums up the character of the Virginians as a people noted 
for dissipation, hospitality, and attachment to the Union ; of 
the special characteristics of the different States he was singu- 
larly cognizant ; and notes the slow adoption of vaccination, 
the adaptation of soils, and the existence of wild hemp on the 
shores of Ontario. 

Apart from the specific information contained in hia 


^' Voyage dans les Etats Unis d'Amerique,'' the Paris edition 
of which, printed in 1800, consists of eight Tolomes, 8yo., 
there is little to attract the reader of warm sympathies or 
decided tastes. An English translation was published in 
qnarto.* Although the work is the chief source of the Duke 
de La Rochefoucault's literary reputation, it is justly char- 
acterized, by an intelligent French critic, as a froide compila* 
tion, 8an8 imagination et sans Pesprit cPartiste. Both this 
writer, Chastellux, and other of their countrymen, gave satis- 
factory facts in regard to American military and political 
leaders, who can be most fairly estimated by competent for- 
eign critics: the former describes Stirling, and the latter 
Simcoe, Knox, and others. 

The Duke sums up, in the last chapter of his voluminous 
work, his impressions and convictions: like Brissot, he 
praises the Quakers for their civic virtues ; he notes what he 
calls the " prejudice " among the men against " domestic ser- 
vitude,'* a feeling in which the women then did not share ; 
of the freedom of action accorded the latter, he speaks with 
a Frenchman's national surprise, and adds that, when married, 
^' they love their husband becaiyse he is their husband ; " he 
expatiates on the need of a more thorough educational sys- 
tem ; physically, however, he thinks the Americans had the 
advantage of Europeans in their habits of sporting and use 
of the rifle, and deems the liberty enjoyed by children the 
best method of teaching them self-reliance ; he describes the 
prevalent manners as essentially the same as those which exist 
in the provincial towns of England ; he praises the hospitality 
and benevolence of the people ; and says that drunkenness is 
" their most common vice," and " the desire of riches their 
ruling passion ; " ^' the traits of character common to all," he 
adds, '^ are ardor for enterprise, courage, greediness, and an 
advantageous opinion of themselves." Such are some of the 
opinions formed by this noble but somewhat prosaic traveller 

* " Liaiicourt*8 (Duke de La Rochefoucault) Trayels through the United 
States, the Ck)untr7 of the Iroquois, &c., in the years 1796, *96 and *97,** 2 yds. 
4to., large folding maps, London, 1799. 


inmediatelj after the Beyohitionary war, when, as he ob- 
serves, the Amerioami ^^ having for the most part made their 
fortunes by their own industry, labor had not become repug- 
nant to liiem.'' He ends Ms work with the most benign 
wishes for the prosperity and integrity of the nation. 

That gifted and solitary pioneer of American fiction, 
Charles Brockden Brown, among his numerous and ill- 
rewarded but most creditable literary labors, made a transla- 
tion of Yolney's once noted book on America.^ The career 
and the character of this writer must be understood in order to 
estimate aright his writings, and especially those that belong to 
the sphere of political and social speculation. Bom in one of 
the provinces of France, just before the commencem^t of that 
memorable chaos of thought and action which ushered in the 
Revolution, of a studious and independent habit, he early 
manifested that boldness of aim and originality of convic- 
tion which marked the adventurous and the philosophic men 
of his day. Changing his name, and accustoming himself to 
hardships, he aspired to an individuality of life and a free- 
dom from conventionalities, somewhat akin to the motive 
that made Byron a wanderer and Lady Stanhope a contented 
sojourner in the desert. The passion for travel early pos- 
sessed him, and he equipped himself therefor by adopting a 
stoical regime^ and acquiring the historical and philological 
knowledge so essential to satisfactory observation in foreign 
countries. An invalid from birth, his sequestered habits and 
sensitive temper gave a misanthropic tinge to his disposition, 
while his limited means induced a remarkable frugality ; the 
result of which circumstances and traits was to make Yolney 
a morbid man, but a speculative thinker and a social non- 
conformist. Like Bentham and Godwin, but with less geni- 
alHy, he professed to disdain the tyranny of custom, and to 
seek the good of humanity and the truth of life, in the neg- 
lected and superseded elements of society, so hopelessly 

• **yieir of the Soil and Climate of the United States of America,'' trans- 
lated by Chailefl Brockden Brown, with maps and plates, 8to., Philadelphia, 



oyerlaid by blind habit and unreasoning acquiescence. Like 
all Frenchmen, in carrying out this programme as a writt^i 
theory, he is rhetorical, and, in practice, more or less gro- 
tesque ; yet with enough of ability and original method to 
excite the curious, and suggest new ideas to less adventurous 
minds, however more sound judgment and hcjier faith might 
repudiate his principles. Professedly a social reformer, and 
at war vrith the life and law around him,'he, like so many 
other civilized malcontents, turned ardently to the East, 

A Breton and a peer of France, there is much in Volney 
to remind us of Chateaubriand — the same passion for knowl- 
edge, love of travel, political enthusiasm, romantic egotism, 
vague and vaunted sentiment; but there the parallel ends: 
for Chateaubriand's conservatism, social relations, and opin- 
ions, literary, political, and religious, separate him widely 
from Volney, although their experience of vicissitude was 
similar. The genius of the author of Atala was pervasive, 
and IS still influential and endeared ; while the writings of 
Volney are comparatively neglected. He was bom in 1765, 
and known, in youth, as Constantino Francois Count de 
Chasseboeuf — a name he not unwisely discarded when seek- 
ing the honors of authorship. After his early education was 
completed, he converted his little patrimony into money, and 
travelled through Egypt and Syria, lived for months in the 
Maronite convent on Mount Lebanon, to acquire the Oriental 
languages, studied Arabic with the Druses, and sojourned in 
an Arab tent. Not the least remarkable fact of his three 
years of Eastern life, was that^the sum of a thousand dollars 
defrayed the entire expense thereof— a result he attributes to 
his simple habits and hardihood, and his facile self-adaptation 
to the modes of life prevalent among those with whom he 
became domesticated. 

Volney's Travels in the East, based, as they were, on such 
unusual opportunities for observation, and written con amarey 
as indicative of his opinions not less than his adventures, 
proved eminently successful, and drew attention to his claims 
as a scholar and thinker, and indirectly led to his appoint- 


ment to an official station in Corsica, where he knew Bona- 
parte. Yohiey's ambition, however, seems to have originally 
tended to philosophical eminence rather than political distino- 
tion. He was a profound hater of tyranny, and too* inde- 
pendent and fastidious, as well as physically sensitive, to 
engage heartily in the straggles of party : he loved rather to 
specnlate freely^ and to wander, observe, theorize, protest, 
and portray. EEaving established himself at Anteuil, near 
Paris, he became intimate with the literary men of the day, 
embraced the Liberal cause, and, as deputy from Anjou, in 
1789, proved an effective speaker. In 1791 he published 
^ Les Ruines ; or. Meditations on the Revolutions of Em- 
pires " — ^the work that embodies at once his scepticism, senti- 
ment, historical speculations, and humanitarian ideas ; a work 
whose rhetoric and vaguely sad but eloquent tone won the 
imaginative as it repelled the religious. It was regarded as 
among the most dangerous of the many sceptical works of 
the day. The remarks on sects and religion excited Joseph 
PHestley to a vigorous protest. Yolney declined the pro- 
posed controversy; and there is something absurd to the 
English reader (who, if candid and intelligent, must know 
that a more honest and humane philosopher than Priestley 
never lived) in the assertion of the author's biographer, that 
the malevolence of a rival writer's jealousy, and not a love 
of truth, led to the original challenge. Yolney was a radi- 
cal, and a victim of the Revolution. He accompanied Poz- 
zo di Borgo to Corsica, and endeavored to establish sugar 
cultivation there. Failing therein, he returned to Paris, to 
suffer persecution in the reign of terror ; and, on the fall of 
Robespierre, regained his liberty, after ten months' imprison- 
ment. In 1794 he was appointed professor of history in the 
Normal School,. on the philosophy of which subject he ably 
lectured ; and, in 1795, embarked at Havre, ^^ with that dis- 
gust and indifference which the sight and experience of injus- 
tice and persecution impart," intending to settle in the United 
States. He tells us that the prospect that allured him thither 
was certain facts in regard to that country wherein he oon« 


sidered it surpassed altogether the rest of the civilised world 
as a home for the man of independent mind, brave individu- 
ality, enterprise, and misfortune. These were, first, an 
immense territory to be peopled; second, the facility of 
acquiring landed property; and third, personal freedom. 
Although Yolney found ^diese privileges extant and estab- 
lished, neither his antecedents nor his disposition were auspi- 
dous to their realization. In his famous Treatise, he had 
traced the fall of empires, and speculated on the origin of 
government and laws ; the prejudices and errors of mankind 
he considers the cause of social evil, and advocates a return 
to normal pi-inciples, recognizing, however, no basis of fidth 
as the foundation of social prosperity. Montesquieu and 
Montaigne, Rousseau and Godwin, have made the essential 
truths of social reform patent; the question of their prac- 
tical organization remains an unsolved problem, except as 
regards individual fealty. Combe and Spurzheim showed 
that the violation of the natural laws was the root of human 
misery. Buckle illustrates the historical iufiuence of super- 
stition upon society ; and Emerson throws aphoristic shells at 
fortified popular errors, or what he considers such, that ex- 
plode and sparkle, but fail to destroy : all and each of these 
and other kindred theorists expose evil far better than^ey 
propose good; repudiate, but do not create; and this vital 
defect underlies the philosophy of Volney, which is desti- 
tute of the conservate elements of more benign and recep- 
tive minds. It eloquently depicts wrong, ingeniously ac- 
counts for error, but offers no positive conviction or practical 
ameliorations whereon the social edifice can firmly rise in new 
and more grand proportions.* His Utopian anticipations of 
a political millennium in America were disappointed ; and per- 

* '* The eondiisiom to which Yobiey makes his interlocator come, la, that 
nothing can be trae, nothing can be a ground of peace and union which is 
not yisible to the senses. Truth is in conformity with sensations. The book 
is interesting as a work of art ; but its analysis of Christianity is so shocking 
that its absurdity alone prevents its becoming dangerous.** — CfriHcai HUiory 
9fFm ThmghX^ ^y A. a Farrab, H. A. 


soDsl resentment, imprudence, and egotism aggravated this 
result. His visit was abruptly dosed; and the record 
thereof became, for these reasons, incomplete, and warped 
by prejudice, yet not without special merit, and a peculiar 
interest and value. 

Yohney's difficulties as an emigrant were complicated 
by political excitement incident to the troubles in France, the 
arrogant encroachments of Genet, and the partisan strife 
thus engendered. In the words of his biographer, '^ the epi- 
demic animosity against the French breaking out, compeUed 
him to withdraw '' — a course rendered more imperative, ac- 
cording to the same authority, ^^ by the attacks of a person 
who was then all powerful." He was charged with being 
a secret agent of his Government, conspiring to deliver 
Louisiana to the Directory; and we are gravely told that 
^^ the world would be astonished at the animosity of John 
Adams," who, Volney declares, "had no motive but the 
rancor of an author, on account of my opiuion of his book on 
the Constitution of the United States." In these state- 
ments, those cognizant of the attempted interference of for- 
eigners, sustained by party zeal, and the just indignation and 
firm conduct of Washington, at that memorable crisis, can 
easily understand why Volney found it expedient to relin- 
quish his purpose to settle in America. On returning to 
France, he was a senator during the consulship of Napoleon ; 
and, in 1814, a member of the Chamber of Peers. He died 
in Paris in 1820. The following year his works were col- 
lected and published in eight handsome volumes. " I am of 
opinion," he writes, " that Travels belong to history, and not 
to romance. I have, therefore, not described countries as 
more beautiful than they appeared to me ; I have not repre- 
sented their inhabitants more virtuous nor more wicked than 
I have found them." 

Volney made the reflections, historic and speculative, in- 
duced by the contemplations of " solitary ruins, holy sepul- 
chres, and silent walls," the nucleus and inspiration for the 
utterance of his theories of life and man. He apostrophixes 


them as witDesses of the past, and evokes jAantoms of 
buried empires to attest the causes of their decline, and the 
means and method of human regeneration. There is a nov- 
elty in this manner of treating great questions; and this, 
combined with rhetorical language, a philosophical tone, and 
no inconsiderable knowledge, explains the interest his work 
excited. Stripped of glowing epithets and conventional 
terms, there is, however, little originality in his deductions, 
and much sophistry in his reasonings. Like Rousseau, he 
reverts to the primitive wants and rights of humanity ; like 
Godwin, he advocates a return to the normal principles of 
political justice as the only legitimate basis of social organ- 
isation ; and, like the enthusiasts of the first French Revolu- 
tion, he claims liberty and equality for man as the only true 
conditions of progress ; while he ascribes to ignorance and 
cupidity the evils of his lot and the fall of nations. In 
conmion, however, with so many speculative reformers of 
that and subsequent periods, his practical suggestions are 
altogether disproportioned to his eloquent protest; and his 
estimate of Christianity fails to recognize its inherent author- 
ity as verified by the highest and most pure moral intuitions, 
and confirmed by the absolute evidence manifest in the 
diaracter, influence, and truths made patent and pervasive by 
its Founder. As a traveller, Volney wrote with remarkable 
intelligence ; as a student of history, his expositions were 
often comprehensive and original ; as a moralist, he grasped 
the rationale of natural laws and duties ; and as a linguist, 
his attainments were remarkable. There is more pique than 
candor in his reply to Priestley's letter controverting his 
atheistical views. His labors as professor in the Normal 
School of Paris, as administrator in Corsica, as a political 
representative, and an economical writer, indicate rare assi- 
duity, insight, and progressive zeal. His biographer claims 
that from his ^'earliest youth he devoted himself to the 
search after truth ; " extols " the accuracy of his views and 
the justness of his observations" — ^his moral courage, and 
the originality of his system ^^ of applying to the study of 


the idioms of Asia a part of the grammatical notions we pos- 
B688 concerning the languages of Europe ^ — and of his doctrine 
^ that a state is so much the more powerful as it includes a 
greater nmnber of proprietors — that is, a greater division of 
l^operty.^ Erudite, austere, a lover of freedom, and a 
seeker for truth, whatever might be the speculative tenden- 
dea of Yolney, his information and his philosophic aspire 
tions won him friends and honor at home and abroad ; but 
his sceptical generalizations repel as much as his adventurous 
individuality attracts. His visit to this country is thus 
alluded to by his biographer: "Disgusted with the scenes 
he had witnessed in his native land, he felt that passion re- 
vive within him, which, in his youth, had led him to visit 
Afnea and Asia. Then, in the prime of life, he joyfully bade 
adieu to a land where peace and plenty reigned, to travel 
among barbarians ; now, in mature years, but dismayed at 
the spectacle of injustice and persecutions, it was with diffi- 
dence, as we learn from himself, that he went to implore 
from a free people an asylum for a sincere friend of that lib- 
erty that had been so profaned." 

Although imbittered by personal difficulties and acrimo- 
nious controversy, the sojourn of Volney in the United 
States was not given to superficial observation, but to scien- 
tific inquiry. In this respect, his example was worthy of a 
philosopher ; and it is a characteristic evidence of his assidu- 
ity, that he improved his acquaintance with the famous Miami 
chief. Little Turtle, when the latter visited Philadelphia, in 
1797, on treaty business, to make a vocabulary of the lan- 
guage of that aboriginal tribe. 

His work* on this country, published in England with 
additions, is less rhetorical, on account of the subjects dis- 
cussed, than his other writiogs; singularly devoid of per- 
sonal anecdote, andj but for the description of Niagara Falls, 
and the bite of a rattlesnake, comparatively unpicturesque 

* Yolnej's (C. F.) " View of the Climate and Soil of the United Stotes, 
Ac., and Vocabulary of the Miami Language,** 8to, maps and plates, London, 


and anadventaroiui as a narratiTe. It anticipates somewhat 
the later labors of savans and economists, and sets forth with 
acnmen many of the physical featm^ resources, and charac- 
teristics of the comitry. It possesses an extrinsic interest 
quite unique, from the antecedents and literary reputation 
of the author ; and it is in the latter character that he is 
remembered, as identified with the progress of infidelity — 
but original, philosophic, and liberaL Catharine of Russia 
recognized his merit ; Holbach introduced him to Franklin ; 
and he solaced his wounded pride, after leaving this coxmtry, 
by reverting to the consideration manifested for him by 
Washington. He is the first foreign writer of eminence who 
made the climate of North America a subject of study and 
scientific report ; and his views and facts have been and are 
still often referred to as authoritative, notwithstanding their 
limited application. His description of the action and influ- 
ence of winds is highly picturesque, and his observations on 
rain and electricity noteworthy. 

When Yolney, in his preface, advises Frenchmen not to 
emigrate to America, because the laws, language, and man- 
ners are uncongenial, though better adapted to the English, 
Scotch, and Dutch, he adds : ^' I say with regret, my experi- 
ence did not lead me to find cea dtspoaUions frcUemeUet I 
had looked for.'' The political exigencies at the time of his 
visit, and personal disappointment, evidentiy warped the 
philosopher's candid judgment; and he confesses feeling 
obliged thereby to give scientific rather than social commen- 
taries on America. ^His analysis and description of the soil 
and climate are brief. He begins with the geographical 
situation, discusses the marine, sandy, calcareous, granite, 
mountain, and other regions, the Atlantic coast, and the Mis- 
sissipi basin. Subsequent geological researches, the progress 
of meteorological and ethnological science since his day, com- 
bine to render Volney's tableaux more curious than satisfac- 
tory or complete. He has specific remarks on New Hamp- 
shire, based on a then current history of that State by Samuel 
Williams, many facts and speculations in regard to the 


mborigmefl, and interestang notes respecting the French colo- 

YohieT's visit was long remembered by our older citi- 
«ns. A Knickerbocker reminiscent, in describing the local 
assoeiations of " Richmond Hill," in the city of New York — 
a domain now marked by the jxmction of Yarick and Van- 
dam streets — speaks of the Lispenard meadows once flanking 
the spot, aild of the adjacent forest trees, where the echo of 
the sportsman's gon often resounded ; and, in allusion to the 
mansion itself, notes the curious fact that the first opera 
house was built upon its site ; that the elder Adams resided 
there when Congress met in New York ; and that the dwell- 
ing became the home of the notorious Aaron Burr, among 
whose guests he mentions Volney, ** whose portly form gave 
outward tokens of his tremendous vitality, while the Syrian 
traveller descanted on theogony, the races of the red men, 
and Niagara." * 

We have a curious glimpse of Volney during his tour in 
this country, from another venerable reminiscent: ^^Some 
thirty or more years ago, at the dose of a summer's day, a 
stranger entered Warrentown. He was alone and on foot, 
and his appearance was anything but prepossessing ; his gar- 
ments coarse and dust-covered, like an individual in the hum- 
bler walks. From a cane resting across his shoulder was sus- 
pended a handkerchief containing his clothing. Stopping in 
front of Turner's tavern, he took from his bat a paper, and 
handed it to a gentleman standing on the steps. It read as 
follows: 'The celebrated historian and naturalist, Volney, 
needs no recommendation from 6. Washington.' " 

It is said that the idea of his celebrated work on the 
Ruins of Empires was first suggested in the cabinet of 
Franklin. Herein he elaborately proclaims and precisely 
defines the law of decay as the condition of humanity in her 
most magnificent social development; and states, with the 
eloquence of scientific logic, the right, necessity, and duty of 

• " Old New YoA," by Dr. Francis. 


toleration — ^then s doctrine but casually recognised as a 
philosophical necessity. It was objected to this work, in 
addition to its sceptical generalization, that, in describing 
sects, he misrepresented their creed and practice. A merit, 
however, claimed for Volncy, and with reason, is his freedom 
fh>m egotism when writing as a philosopher. There is a 
remarkable absence of personal anecdote and adventures both 
in his work on the East and his American travels. One of 
his biographers claims that the topographical descriptions in 
the latter are written in a masterly style, and that his re- 
marks on the coarse and currents of the winds denote origi- 
nal insight and observation. The same writer, however, 
states that his character, which was natnrally serions, became 
morose as he advanced in life. 

It was his original purpose to treat of America as a 
political essayist and social philosopher. He intended to 
trace ^^ the stock, the history, language, laws, and customs ; 
to expose the error of the romantic colonists^ who gave the 
name of a virgin people to their descendants — a contbination 
of the inhabitants of old Europe — Dutch, Germans, &|pan- 
iards, and English from three kingdoms; to indicate the 
differences of opinions and of interests which divide the New 
England and Southern country — the region of the Atlantic 
and that of the Mississippi; to define republicanism and 
federalism,'^ Ac, A profound admirer of the liberty of the 
press and of opinion, he would have explained the antag- 
onism between the followers of Adams and of Jefferson. In 
a word, the scope of his work, as at first projected, resem- 
bled that so ably achieved by his more consistent and judi- 
cious countryman, De Tocqueville. Instead of this, Volney 
wrote in a scientific vein. He treats of the winds, tempera- 
ture, qualities of soil, local diseases ; and writes as a natural- 
ist and physiologist, instead of making the great theme 
subservient to his political theories. There is much con- 
densed knowledge and remarkable scientific description; 
interesting accounts of Florida, the French colony on the 
Scioto, and others in Canada, with curious remarks on the 


aborigines. The style and thought as well as scope of the 
wo^ although thus partial in its design, are superior to most 
of those which preceded it. 

Another Frenchman, who enjoyed considerable literary 
renown in his day, was instrumental, though not in the 
character of a trareller, in making America and her political 
claims known in Europe. Bom at St. Geniez, Guienne, in 
1711, and dying at Paris m 1796, the life of the Abbe Ray- 
nal includes a period fraught with extreme vicissitudes of 
government and religion, whereof he largely partook in opin- 
ion and fortune. Bred a Jesuit, he went to Paris, and, from 
some elocutionary defects, failed as a preacher at St. Sulpice, 
became intimate with Voltaire, Diderot, and D'Alembert, 
and abandoned theology for philosophy. Familiar with the 
writings of Bayle, Montaigne, and Rousseau, he became an 
ardent liberal and active litterateur ; first compiling memoirs 
of Ninon de L'Enclos, then writing " L'Histoire du Stathou- 
d6rat" — a branch of the noble theme since so memorably 
unfolded by our countryman Motley ; the ^^ Histoire du Parle- 
ment d'Angleterre ; ^ articles in the " Cyclopaedia ; " literary 
anecdotes, &c. But the work which for a time gave him 
most celebrity, was written in conjunction with Diderot — 
^* Histoire philosophique et politique des Etablissements et du 
commerce des Europ6ens dans les Indes.'' The first edition 
appeared in 1770. In the second, ten years after, his direct 
•attacks upon the existing government and religion caused the 
work to be prohibited, and its author condemned to imprison- 
ment; which latter penalty he escaped by flight. In 1781 
appeared his ^^ Tableau et Revolutions des Colonies Anglaiscs 
dans FAmerique Septentrionale," * whose many errors of fact 
were indicated in a pamplilet by Tom Paine. Elected a 
deputy, his renunciation of some of his obnoxious opinions 
failed to conciliate his adversaries ; and, despoiled by the 
Revolution, he died in poverty, at the age of eighty-four. 
Incorrect and desultory as are the Abbe Raynal's writings, 

* " The Abb6 Baynal on the ReTolution in America,'* 12mo., Dnblm, 



and neglected as they now are, bis advocaoy of the American 
cause, and description of the country, drawn apparently from 
I inadequate yet sometimes authentic sources, on account of a 
certain philosophical tone and agreeability of style, were for 
some years read and admired. As we recur to them in the 
ninth Tolume of the latest edition of his chief work, wherein 
they are now included, we obtain a vivid idea of the kind of 
research and rhetoric then in vogue, and can imagine how to 
foreign minds must then have appeared the problem of our 
nascent civilization. 

The Abbe's biographer claims that he was personally very 
agreeable, and possessed of a fine figure.; that the vivacious 
discussions and literary fellowship of the Paris wIqm eur 
livened and enlai*ged the acquisitions of this deot of the 
cloister who '^ succeeded in the world," and, though he did 
not understand the science of politics, and often contradicted 
himself, was, notwithstanding, an ardent and capable de- 
fender of human rights, and a true lover of his race. It is a 
curious fact, that he was a warm admirer and eloquent eulo- 
.gist of Sterne's fair friend, Eliza Draper ; and a more inter- 
estmg one, that he was among the very earliest to protest 
against the cruelties then practised against the negro race. 
He draws a parallel, at the dose of his history, between the 
actual results of European conquests in America, and their 
imagined benefits. The new empire multiplied metals, and 
made a grand movement in the world ; but, says the Abbi, 
'^ le mouvement ne'st pas le bonheur," and the Western em- 
pire ^^ donn6 naissance au plus infame, au plus atroce de tons 
les commerces, celui des esclaves." Chiefly occupied with 
the West India Islands, what is said of North America is dis- 
cursive. He describes the process of civilization in brief ; the 
Puritan, Dutch, and Catholic leaders ; Penn,.and Lord Balti- 
more ; the settlement of Georgia and Carolina ; the trees, 
grain, birds, tobacco, and other indigenous products; notes 
the imported domestic animals, and the exported wood and 
metals ; discusses the probable success of silk and vine cul- 
ture in the southern and middle regions, and ^ves statistics 


of the population, and partial acoonnts of the laws, currency, 
municipal and colonial systemB, <fec., of the several States ; 
and then, in outline, describes the Revolution. A love of 
freedom, and a speculative hardihood and interest in human 
progress and prosperity, imbue his narratives and reasonings, 
though the former are often incorrect, and the latter inade- 

According to the habit of French authors of those days, 
the Abb6 occasionally turns from disquisition to oratory; 
and it is amusing to read here and now the oracular counsel 
he gave our fiathers : addressing the '^ peuples de I'Amerique 
Septentrionale," in 1781 : '^ Craignez," he says, '^ I'affluence de 
For qui apporte avec le luxe la corruption des moBurs, le 
mepiis des lois; craignez une trop in^gale repartition des 
richesses ; garantissez-vous de Pesprit de conqu^te ; cherchez 
I'aisance et la sante dans le travail, la prosperity dans la cul- 
ture des terres et les ateliers de rindustrie, la force dans les 
bonnes moBurs et dans la vertu ; faites prosperer les sciences 
et les artes ; veillez k I'education de vos enfans ; n'^tablissez 
ancune preference legale entre les cultes. Apr^s avoir vu 
dans le debut de cet ouvrage, en quel 6tat de mi86re et de 
tenebres 6tait FEurope k la naissance de I'Amerique, voyons 
en quel 6tat le conqu^te d'un monde a conduit et pouss^ le 
monde conquerante." He laments the fanaticism of Massa- 
chusetts ; tells the story of Salem witchcraft, and the per- 
petuation in the New of the cruel laws of the Old World ; 
says epidemics like the small pox acquire new virulence in 
America ; praises the Long Wharf of Boston, and compares 
the dwellings and fumfture of that city to those of London. 




Some of the most pleasing and piquant descriptions of 
America, and life there, at the period of and subsequent to 
the Revolutionary War, are to be found in the memoirs and 
correspondence of French allies and emiffris. In some in- 
stances, as we have seen in the case of Chastellux, Brissoti 
the Abb6 Robm, and others, instead of an episode, our Gkillio 
visitors have expanded their observations into separate vol- 
umes ; but even the casual mention of places and persons, 
character and customs that are interwoven in the biography 
and journals of some of the French officers, are noteworthy 
as illustrations of the times, especially in a social point of 
view. We find them in the memoirs of De Laozun, De 
Segur, De Broglie, and other of the gallant beaux who made 
themselves so agreeable to the pretty Quakers at Newport, 
where they were so long quartered ; and left, as in the case 
of Vosmeneul, traditions of wit, love, and dancing — ^the 
evanescent record whereof still survives in the initials cut on 
the little window panes of the gable-roofed houses with 
their diamond rings, and were long rehearsed by venerable 
ladies of Philadelphia and Boston. Among these incidental 
glimpses of America as her scenes and people impressed a 


noble tnilUcnre^ are many passages in the Memoirs of Count 
Rochambean, who is so prominently represented beside 
Washington in the picture of the surrender of Yorktown, at 
Versailles. Bom in 1725, and soon distinguished as a sol- 
dier, in 1780 he was sent as the commander-general of six 
thousand troops, to assist our Reyolutionary struggle. He 
landed at Newport, R. L, and acted in concert with Wash- 
ington against Clinton in New York, and against Comwallif 
at Yorktown. On his return to France, he was made mar- 
shal, and commander of the Army of the North, by Louis 
XYL He was gradually superseded by more energetio 
officers, became the object of calunmy to the journalists, and 
vindicated himself in a speech before the Assembly, who 
passed a decree approving his conduct. He retired to his 
estate at Vendome, resolved to abandon public affairs. He 
was arrested, and narrowly escaped death under. Robespierre 
— ^like so many of his eminent countrymen who had become^ 
well known on this side of the ocean. In 1803 he was pre- 
sented to Bonaparte, who conferred on him the cross of the 
Legion of Honor. He died in 1807, and, two years after, 
his ** M^moires '' were published. 

Count Rochambeau describes at length the military oper- 
ations of which he was a witness in America, and looks at 
die country, for the most part, with the eyes of a soldier. 
He repudiates all idea of writing in the character of a pro« 
fessed author, and both the style and substance of his auto- 
biography are those of a military memoir. Still he records 
many significant facts, geographical and economical. He 
notes the agricultural resources of those parts of the country 
he visited, describes the houses, ports, and climate, and 
gives an interesting account of Arnold's treason — ^first re- 
vealed to Washington in connection with a journey under- 
taken by the latter to meet him ; and of many of the subse- 
quents events connected therewith he was a witness. But 
the most attractive feature of Rochambeau's American 
reminiscences is his cordial recognition of the popular mind 
and heart. He appreciated, better than many more super* 


ficial observere, the domestic diBoipline, the religiooB tolera- 
tion, and the genuine independence of character which then 
formed our noble distinction in the view of liberal Europeans. 
He remarks the unequal interest in the war in different 
localities : ^^ £n distinguant d'abord les commer^ans des agri- 
ooles, les habitudes des grandes villes maritimes de cenx des 
petites yilles ou des habitans de Fint^rieur, ou ne doit pas 
6tre ^tonne que les conmier^ans et ceux qui, dans ces ports, 
avaient une relation ou des int^rdts directs avec le gouveme- 
ment Anglais, aient t^moign^ moins de z61e pour la revolu- 
tion que les agricoles.^' Boston was an exception; and the 
Northern States seconded the Revolution which the violence 
of the British and Hessians precipitated. The equal for- 
tunes of the Norlh favored democracy, while the large pro- 
prietors of the South formed an aristocracy. He says of 
American women: ^^Les filles y sont libres jusqu'a leur 
mariage. Leur premiere question est de savoir si vous ^tes 
marie; et, si vous I'dtes, leur conversation tombe tout a plat." 
Sometimes in youth, though going to church with parents, 
^'elles n'aient pas encore fait choix d'une religion; elles 
disent qu^elles seront de la religion de leur maris." Thej 
observe, he says, ^'une grande propri6t6." He describes a 
settlement ^' par mettre le feu k la foret (to clear). H seme 
en suite, entre les souches, toutes sortes de grains, qui crois- 
sant avec la plus grande abondance, sous une couche de 
feuilles, pourries et reduites en terreau vegetal form6 pen- 
dant un tr^s-grand nombre d'annees. H batit son habitation 
avec les rameaux de ces arbres places Tun sur Tautre, soutenus 
par des piquets. Au bout de vingt ou trente ans, lorsqu^il 
est parvenu k desancher et k rendre la terre ameublie, il 
songo a construire une maison plus propre " — ^and later one of 
brick ; " on y fait au moins quatre repas, interrompu par un 
travail mod6rd, et le petit n^gre est continuellement occupy k 
d^faire et k remettre le convert. 

" Dans les grands villes," he adds, " le luxe a fait plus de 
progres. Le pays circonscrit sous le nom des £)tats Unis, 
aveo les arrondissemens qu'ont c^d6s les Anglais, par la pais 


de 1768, pourra comporter nn jour ploB de trente millions 
dluibitazis sans k gener." 

He recognizes the complete division of church and 
state in our democratic system: '^Par ces precautions, la 
religion n'entra pour rien dans les deliberations politiques ; 
chacun professa son culte avec exactitude ; la sanctification 
da dimanche s'y observoit ayec exactitude ; " and, like so 
many other sojourners of that period, he attests that ^4^hoB- 
pitalit6 est la vertu la plus g^neralement obsery6e." 

An incident related by his companion, illustrates the 
popular respect for law : ^^ At the moment of our quitting 
the camp," writes Count S^gur, ''as M. de Rocharobeau 
was proceeding at the head of his columns, and surrounded 
hj his brilliant staf^ an American approached him, tapped 
him slightly on the shoulder, and, showing him a paper he 
held in his hand, said : ' In the name of the law I arrest yoxL' 
Several young officers were indignant at this insult offered to 
their general ; but he restrained their impatience by a sign, 
smiled, and said to the American, ' Take me away with you, 
if you can.' ' No,' replied he ; ' I have done my duty, and 
your excellency may proceed on your march, if you wish to 
put justice at defiance. Some soldiers of the division of 
Soissonnais have cut down several trees, and burnt them to 
light their fires. The owner of them claims an indemnity, 
and has obtained a warrant against you, which I have come 
to execute.' " * 

Rochambeau was much impressed with the state of reli- 
^on in America, and especially the voluntary deference to 
the clergy, coexistent with self-respect and self-reliance in 
matters of faith, so manifest at the era of the Revolution. 
" They reserve," he writes, " for the minister the first place 
at public banquets ; he invokes a blessing thereon ; but his 
prerogatives, as far as society is concerned, extend no far- 
ther ; and this position," he adds, obviously in view of cleri- 
cal corruption in Europe, ''should lead naturally to simple 
and pure manners." 

Another anecdote, illustrative of the times and people, is 


related with much zest: "Je hasarde,^' he says, "d'inter- 
rompre ici Tattention du lecteur, par le recit d'une historiette 
qui ni iaisse pas de caracteriser parfaitement les raoeurs des 
bons republieans du Connecticut." He then states that, 
being on his way to Hartford, to confer with Washington, 
and accompanied by the Count de Temay, who was an in- 
valid, the carriage broke down, and his aide was sent to find 
a blacksmith to repair it. The only one in the vicinity, being 
ill with fever and ague, refused, and declared a hat full of 
guineas would not induce him to undertake the job; but 
when the Count ex^^ained to the resolute Vulcan, that if his 
vehicle was not repaired, he could not keep his appointment 
with Washington, ^' I am at the public service. You shall 
have your carriage at six to-morrow morning," said the black- 
smith, " for you are good people." Such instances of disin- 
terested patriotism, and superiority to the blandishm^its of 
rank and money, among the mechanics and fEtrmers, struck 
Rochambeau and his companions as memorable evidences of 
the effect of free institutions and popular education upon 
national character. 

Another famous Frenchman, at a later period, received 
quite a different impression — finding in the isolated material- 
ism of American border life a hopeless dearth of sentiment 
and civilized enjoyment^ which, in his view, though habitu- 
ated to the sight of starving millions and effeminate cour- 
tiers, more than counterbalanced the independence and pros- 
pective comfort of the masses thus bravely secured. When 
Talleyrand was a temporary exile in the United States, he 
visited a colony of his countrymen, and wrote thus of the 
American backwoodsman: ^^He is interested in nothing. 
Every sentimental idea is banished from him. Those 
branches so elegantly thrown by nature — a fine foliage, a 
brilliant hue which marks one part of the forest, a deeper 
green which darkens another — all these are nothing in his 
eye. He has no recollections associated with anything around 
him. His only thought is the number of strokes which are 
necessary to level this or that tree. He has never planted ; 


he IB a straDger to the pleasure of that process. Were he to 
pbnt a tree, it never could become an object of gratification 
to him, because he could not live to cut it down. He lives 
only to destroy. He is surrounded by destruction. He does 
not watch the destiny of what he produces. He does not 
love the field where he has expended his labor, because his 
labor is merely fatigue, and has no pleasurable sentiment 
tttached to if 

Few men bom in the Eastern States, especially if they 
have visited Europe, can fail to realize a certain forlorn re- 
moteness in the sensation experienced, when surrounded by 
the sparsely inhabited woods and prairies, akin to what Talley- 
rand describes. The back country of the Upper Mississippi 
seems more oppressively lonely to such a traveller than the 
interior of Sicily. The want of that vital and vivid connec- 
tion between the past and present ; the painful sense of new- 
ness; the savage triumph, as it were, of nature, however 
beautiful, over humanity, whose eager steps have only in- 
vaded, not ameliorated her domain — seem, for the moment, 
to leave us in desolate individuality and barren self-depend- 
ence. But the experience Talleyrand compassionated was 
and is but a transition state — a brief overture to a future 
social prosperity, where sentiment as well as enterprise has 
ample verge. 

Count Segur, the French ambassador to Russia and Prus- 
sia, was bom in 1753, and his first youth was educated under 
that chevalre^qtte social luxury that marked the reign of Louis 
XV. Of noble birth, and commencing life as a courtier, he 
experienced to an unusual extent, the vicissitudes, the disci- 
pline, and the distinction incident to his age and country. 
He was an accomplished military officer and diplomatist, an 
author, a politician, a voyageur^ and a peer; and, withal, 
seems to have been an amiable, liberal, and brave gentleman. 
He came to America in 1783, with despatches to Rocham* 
beau, to whom he was appointed aide, with the rank of 
colonel ; and, after various and provoking delays and priva- 


tions, joined the Frenoh camp and his own re^ment on the 
Hudson River. 

The circmnstances of his landing were snch as to predis- 
pose a less heroic and gracious nature to take an unfavorable 
view of the New World ; for battle, shipwreck, the loss of 
his effects, great discomfort, and a series of annoyances and 
mishaps attended him from the moment his battered ship ran 
aground in the Delaware, within sight of the enemy's fleet, 
until he reached his conmiander's quarters, after a wearisome 
and exposed journey. Yet few of his gallant countrymen 
looked upon the novelties of life, manners, and scenery 
around him with such partial and sympathetic eyes. Per- 
haps it was by virtue of contrast that the young courtier of 
Louis conceived a strong attachment for the Quakers of 
Philadelphia; and this feeling received a fresh and fond 
impulse from the charms of the beautiful Polly Lawton, of 

The sight of the American forests inspired him ; and the 
independent character, probity, and fru^ contentment of 
the people was the constant theme of his admiration. ^'I 
experienced," he writes, "two opposite impressions — one 
produced by the spectacle of the beauties of a wild and sav- 
age nature, and the other by the fertility and variety of 
industrious cultivation of a civilized world. Indigence and 
brutality were nowhere to be seen ; fertility, comfort, and 
kindness were everywhere to be found ; and every individual 
displayed the modest and tranquil pride of an independent 
man, who feels that he has nothing above him but the laws, 
and who is a stranger alike to the vanity, to the prejudices, 
and to the servility of European society. No useful profes- 
sion is ever ridiculed or despised. Indolence alone would be 
a subject of reproach." 

He was, at firat, astonished to And men of all vocations 
with military titles. The "wild and savage" prospect 
around West Point delighted him. He dined with Wash- 
ington, and describes the toasts and the company with much 
zest. He enjoyed a week's furlough at Newport, and, with 


his brother offioers, gave a ball there. Quartered with a 
family at Providence, he learned to love ^e simplicity of 
domestic life in America. One of his general observations 
on the conntry has now a prophetic significance : 

" The only dangers which can menace, in the future, this happy 
republic, oonaisting in 1780 of three millions, and now (1825)' num- 
bering more than ten millions of citizens, is the excessive wealth 
which is promised by its commerce, and the corrupting luxury which 
may follow it. Its Southern provinces should foresee and avoid an- 
other periL In the South are to be found a very large class of poor 
whites, and another of enormously wealthy proprietors; the fortunes 
of this latter class are created and sustained by the labor of a popu- 
lation of blacks, slaves, which increases largely every year, and who 
may and must be frequently driven to despair and revolt by the con- 
trast of their servitude With the entire liberty enjoyed by men of the 
same color in other States of the Union. In a word, this difference 
of manners and situation between the North and South ; does it not 
lead us to apprehend in times to come a separation which would en- 
feeble and perhaps break this happy confederation, which can pre- 
serve its power only in being finnly locked and united together? 
Such was the sad thought which ended my last conversation with 
the Chevalier de Chastellux, on the eve of his departure from the 
army." ♦ 

Like so many other visitors, he was struck with the re- 
semblance of Boston to an English town, with the beauty 
of its women, and with the preaching of Dr. Cooper. In a 
letter written on embarking for the West Indies, he ex- 
presses keen regret at leaving America, dwells with much 
feeling npon the kindness he had received and the opportuni- 
ties he had enjoyed there, and descants upon the purity of 
manners, equality of condition, and manly self-reliance which, 
combined with the natural advantages of the country and 
the freedom of its institutions, made America to him a subject 
of the most interesting speculation and affectionate interest. 

Another Frenchman, whose name and fame are far more 
illustriously identified with the political vicissitudes and influ- 
ential literature of his times, saw somewhat of America, and 

• ** H^moires," &c., par M. le Ckunte de S^gur, torn, i, pp. 412, 418, 
Paris, 1826. 


reported his impressions with characteristic latitude and sen- 
timent. The scene of his best romance is laid in one of the 
Southern States ; but the description of nature and percep- 
tion of Indian character are far removed from scientific pre- 
cision. Yet over all that Chateaubriand wrote, however 
warped by egotism or rendered melodramatic by ezaggerar 
tion, there breathes an atmosphere of sentiment, whereby a 
certain humanity and eloquence make significant what would 
otherwise often seem unreal and meretricious. He loved 
nature, and, by virtue of a vivid imagination and intense 
consciousness, connected all he saw with his own life and 
thought. His visit to our shores forms an interesting episode 
in his " Memoires d'outre Tombe." After crossing the At- 
lantic, he was becalmed off the shores of Maryland and Vir- 
ginia, and had leisure to appreciate the beautiful skies; 
imprudently bathed in waters infested with sharks; trav- 
ersed woods of balsam trees and cedars, where he observed 
with infinite pleasure the cardinal and mocking birds, the 
gray squirrels, and a " negro girl of extraordinary beauty." 
The contrast between these wild charms and the cities was 
most uncongenial to the poetical emigrL He ^' felt the archi- 
tectural deformity " of the latter, and declares, sadly, that 
" nothing is old in America excepting the woods.'* But his 
chief disappointment consisted in the discovery that the 
modes of life and tone of manners were so far removed 
from what he had fondly imagined of the ideal republic 
'* A man," he writes in 1791, "landing, like myself, in the 
TJnited States, full of enthusiasm for the ancients — a Cato, 
seeking, wherever he goes, the austerity of the primitive 
manners of Rome — must be exceedingly scandalized to find 
everywhere elegance in dress, luxury in equipages, frivolity 
in conversation, inequality of fortunes, the immorality of 
gaming houses, and the noise of balls and theatres. In 
Philadelphia I could have fancied myself in an English town. 
There was nothing to indicate that I had passed from a mon- 
archy to a republic." Reasoning from historical facts and 
analogy, one would imagine that a foreign visitor could only 


expect to find Anglo-Saxon traits, local and social, in those 
American commnnities directly founded by English emi- 
grants. Yet Dickens expressed the same disappointment in 
Boston, at the similarity of the place and people to what was 
familiar to him at home, that Chateaubriand confesses, half 
a century previous, in the city of Brotherly Love, The 
allusion to Roman names and manners, so common with 
French writers in their political criticisms, would strike us 
as extremely artificial, were it not that the drama and the 
academic talk in France, at that time, continually adopted 
the characters and history of Greece and Rome as the stand- 
ard and nomenclature of an era in every respect essentially 
different — a pedantic tendency akin to the Arcadian terms 
and tastes which so long formalized the degenerate muse in 
Italy. It is not, indeed, surprising that the republican enthu- 
siasts of the Old World should have been disenchanted in 
the New, when they found what is called " society '' but a 
tame reflection of that from which they had fled as the 
result of ai^ effete civilization. But the complaint was as 
unreasonable as unjust ; for, in all large and prosperous com- 
munities, an identical social, conventional system prevails. 
In America, however, this sphere was very limited, and, at 
the dawn of the republic, embraced remarkable exceptions 
to the usual hollowness and vapid display ; while, in the vast 
dom^ beyond, the rights, the abilities, and the self-respect 
of human beings found an expression and a scope which, 
however different from Roman development, and however 
unsatisfactory to a modem Cato, offered a most refreshing 
contrast to and auspicious innovation upon the crushing, 
hopeless routine of European feudalism. The political dis- 
appointment of the author of Atala induced him to write 
against the Quakers. He found Washington was " not Cin- 
cinnatus, for he passed in a coach and four ; " but when he 
called on the President with a letter of introduction, he 
recognized in his surroundings "the simplicity of an old 
Roman — no guards, not even a footman." Chateaubriand's 
object was to promote an expedition, set on foot in his own 

' ^ 


country, for the discoyery of the long-sought and mnch- 
desired ^^ Northwest Passage." It appears that Washington 
rather discouraged the enterprise; upon which the compli- 
mentary instinct was aroused in his guest, who, with the 
usual misapprehension of foreigners as to the character of 
our Revolution, and of our matchless chief's relation thereto, 
replied, ^' It is less difficult to discover the Northwest Passage 
than to create a nation, as you have done." And we can 
easily imagine the amused and urbane ^ Well, well, young > 
man," with which Washington dismissed the subject. He 
showed Chateaubriand the key of the Bastile. In describing 
their interview, the French author compares him with Bona- 
parte ; and, in allusion to his own feelings on the memorable 
occasion, significantly declares, '^I was not agitated." A 
startling experience in his subsequent journey, was encounter- 
ing, in the wilderness of New York State, a dancing master 
of his country teaching the Iroquois to caper scientifically. 
Indeed, the great pleasure derived from his visit was that 
afforded by the salient contrast of a nascent civilization with 
the wild beauty of nature. He was awestruck when, in the 
heart of the lonely woods, the distant roar of Niagara 
struck his ear ; and few have approached that shrine of won- 
der and grace with more reverence and delight. The great 
lakes of the interior, the coast fisheries, the isolated sugar 
camp in the maple groves, and the aspect, rites, and traits of 
the aboriginal tribes, excited the earnest curiosity and grati- 
fied the adventurous sentiment which afterward found such 
copious inspiration in a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, a sojourn in 
Rome, exile in England, and a conservative and pathetic plea 
for outraged Christianity in his native land. ^^ It is impos- 
sible," he writes, " to conceive the feelings and the delight 
experienced on seeing the spire of a new steeple rising from 
the bosom of an ancient American forest." 

The transition from the political essayist to the natural 
historian is refreshing. The zest with which Michaux de- 
scribes some of the arborescent wonders of the West is as 
pleasant as his intelligent discussion of economical facts and 


3^iintaii domesticity in the East. Dr. Michaox,' in the year 
1802, visited the country westward of the Alleghanies and 
the Carolinas, under the auspices of the Minister of the Inte- 
rior. He found delightful companions in the trees, and 
charming hospitality among the flowers; and, contrasting 
the vegetation of the Southern with that of the Western 
States, gave to his countrymen a correct and impressive idea 
of the products and promise of the New World, as an arena 
for botanical investigation, and a home for the enterprising 
and unfortunate.* He describes new species of rhododen- 
dron and azalea ; expatiates on the varieties of oak and wal- 
nut ; ^ves statistics of size, grouping, and diversities in the 
native forests; points out indigenous medicinal and floral 
products, and discourses genially of the cones of the mag- 
nolia, the fish and shells of the Ohio, the salt licks of Ken- 
tacky, and bear hunting in the Alleghanies. In a word, his 
brief and discursive journal illustrates that delightful series 
of Travels, whose inspiration is the love of nature, and whose 
object is the exposition of her laws and productions, with 
which Nuttall, Wilson, Audubon, Lyell, and Agassiz have so 
enriched scientific literature on this continent. And while it 
is interesting to compare the more copious and special narrsr 
tives of these endeared .writers with that of Michaux, and 
realize the advancement of knowledge and scientific zeal 
since he wrote, it is no less cheering to witness the social 
progress of the West— especially the effects of the temper- 
ance reform and the success of the grape culture — and revert 
therefrom to the earnest protest of this amiable writer, who, 
as a Frenchman and a naturalist, was revolted at the perver- 
sion of nature's best gifts which the current habits of the 
population evinced. "The taverns, and especially that in 
which we lodged," writes Michaux of the valley of the Ohio, 
fifty years ago, " were filled with drunkards, who made a 
frightful uproar, and yielded to excesses so horrible as to be 

* ^ TrayelB to the Westward of the Alleghany Mountains in Ohio, Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee,*' Ac., by Dr. F. A. Michaux, translated by Lambert, 
Sto, 1806. 


scarcely conceived. The rooms, the sUdrs, the yard were 
covered with men dead dnmk ; and those who were still aUe 
to get their teeth separated, nttered only the accents of fury 
and rage. An inordinate desire for spiritnons liquors is one 
of the characteristics of the country id the interior of the 
(Jnited States. This passion is so powerful, that they quit 
their habitations, from time to time, to go and get drunk at 
the taverns. They do not relish cider, which they think too 
mild. Their distaste for this salutary and agreeable beverage 
is the more extraordinary, since they might easily procure it 
at little expense, for apple trees of every kind succeed won- 
derfully in this country." It has been chstged against 
Michaux, that he accepted a commission from Genet to raise 
troops in Kentucky and Louisiana. 

Among the political refugees who found safety and com- 
fort in the United States after the fall of Napoleon, were 
two sons of the dashing and brave but superficial and unfor- 
tunate Mnrat. One dwelt many years in New Jersey, where 
Joseph Bonaparte, with benign philosophy, enjoyed the ele- 
gant seclusion of a private gentleman so much more than he 
had the cares and honors of royalty ; and, among the extra- 
ordinary vicissitudes that mark the history of individuals 
associated with European politics in our day, the marvellous 
restoration of Mnrat to fortune in France, under the imperial 
success of Louis Napoleon, is to the people of that little 
town in New Jersey " stranger than fiction ; " for the refugee 
was a boon companion and needy adventurer among them ; 
for years supported by his accomplished wife and daughter, 
who kept a most creditable school, and maintained their self- 
respect with dignity and tact. The other brother, Achille, 
found a home and a wife, with slaves and a plantation, near 
Tallahassee, Fla., and seems to have enjoyed his adopted coun- 
try with the zest of a sportsman and the adventurous spirit 
of his race, and easily to have reconciled himself to the in- 
congruities of such a lot. Nine years of residence made him 
familiar with the country ; and, when an honorary colonel in 
the Belgian army, he presented to a comrade the manuscript 


wherein, to inform a friend in Europe, he had written at 
length his impressions and convictions in regard to the 
United States. After his death, it was translated and pub- 
lished in this country.* The distinction of the work is, that 
it is written by a foreigner whose experience of the country 
and whose sympathies are almost as exclusively Southern, as 
if he was a bigoted native instead of a stranger in the land. 
He considers agriculture the primal and pervasive interest ; 
he advocates slavery both on practical and metaphysical 
grounds; he considers Charleston, S. C, the centre of all 
that is polished and superior in American society ; he shares 
and repeats the obsolete prejudices about ^^ Yankees,^' 
founded upon the days of blue laws and peddling; he 
prophesies the political ascendency of the Southern States, 
and deems the "spirit of calculation" elsewhere "mar\'el- 
lously connected with the observance of the Sabbath." Tet 
he is enthusiastic in his admiration of and firm in his trust in 
the " principles of liberty " and the system of government. 
He is proud and happy in' his American citizenship, grateful 
for the prosperous home and independent life here enjoyed, 
and throughout his observations there is a singular combi- 
nation of the political enthusiast and the man of the world, 
the militaire and the advocate, the lover of pleasure and the 
devotee of freedom. There is little said about the beauties of 
nature, few criticisms on manners ; but the processes whereby 
the Indians are dispossessed, the forest occupied, the hunter 
superseded by the squatter, the latter by the settler, and the 
Territory made a State, are given with the details only obtain- 
able through long personal observation. One chapter is 
devoted to the history of parties ; another to the administra- 
tion of justice ; one to religion, and one to finance. Our 
national means of defence, the Indians, and the new settle- 
ments are described and discussed ; and thus a large amount 

* Manit*8 (Achille) ** Moral and Political Sketch of tho United States of 
America," 8to., London, 1833. 

"America and the Americans," by the late Achille Marat, New 
Tork, 1849. 


of correct and valuable infomiation is giyen. Bnt it is evi- 
dent the writer is acquainted intimately with only one flec- 
tion of the conntry ; that the new, and not the old communi- 
ties, hare been the chief scene of his observation; and, 
while there is much both fair and fresh in his comments, they 
refer in no small degree to local and temporary facts. Marat 
writes, however, with acute and sympathetic intelligence, from 
a material point of view ; and it is interesting to contrast 
his speculations of thirty-seven years ago with the events of 
the hour. ^^The English minister," he writes in 1827, 
" wishing to stop emigraticm to the United States, descended 
so far as to induce mercenary writers to travel, and promul- 
gate, through the press, false statements against our people 
and Government. In all these works, which had an extensive 
circulation with John Bull, and thereby iufluenced his mind, 
the subject of slavery has been the avowed and principal 
topic." On which subject he thus argues : ^^ A man meets a 
lion, and has the indubitable right to appropriate the skin of 
the animal to bis own particular purpose ; while, on the other 
hand, the lion has an equal right to the flesh of the man. 
The difference is, one defends his skin, the other his flesh ; 
hence it follows that the spontaneous o^fection in each be- 
comes an obstacle to the other, and which either has the 
right to destroy. By an individual right we are by no means 
to understand a natural right. A man has undoubtedly no 
claim to the possession of another man in relation to that 
man, but possesses this claim in relation to society. If I 
mistake not, public opinion in the Southern States is, that 
slavery is necessary^ but an evil. I, however, am far from 
considering the question in this point of view. On the con- 
trary, I am led to consider it, in certain periods of the his- 
tory or existence of nations, as a good." 

His pro-slavery argument, when at all original, is undis- 
guised sophistry, and compares absurdly with his recogni- 
tion of the principles of civil liberty and self-government; 
while no foreigner has more cordially entered into the re- 
deeming spirit of individual self-reliance and a controlling 


poblio opinion, as means and methods of social progress and 
safety. The plan and scope of the work are such as to render 
it nsefiil and interesting to educated Europeans who contem- 
plate emigration. Its economical details and political philoso- 
jhj are comparatively unauthoritative now, facilities of 
travel and more comprehensive and elevated criticism hav- 
ing made the questions and facts clear and familiar. The 
^ America and Americans '^ of Achille Murat is, therefore, a 
work more interesting from the circumstances and history of 
its author, than from its intrinsic novelty or value. 

In that ingenious work wherein the rationale of luxury 
is so genially expounded — the "Physiologic du Gout" — ^there 
is an episode, wherein the same kindly and cordial estimate 
of republican manners and economy characteristic of French 
travellers in America, — is naively apparent. The author, 
though chiefly known by a work which associates his name 
with the pleasures of the table, was, in fact, a philosopher 
whose cast of mind was judicial rather than fanciful ; and 
who, in his most popular book, under the guise of epicurean 
zest, grapples with and illustrates profound truths. An inde- 
fatigable student, a keen sportsman, and a conscientious offi- 
cial, Brillat-Savarin, from the moment his early education was 
completed, filled important situations, such as deputy, mayor, 
president of the civil tribunals, and judge of the bureau of 
cassation, in his native province ; with the exception of three 
years of exile during the Revolution, which he passed in this 
country, and chiefly in New York, gaining a subsistence by 
teaching his native language and regulating a theatrical 
orchestra. He alludes to his sojourn as an era of pleasant 
experiences. He made numerous friends in America, and 
attributes this to his facility in adopting the habits and man- 
ners of the country, and his knowledge of the language; 
although his quotations are often amusingly incorrect. A 
scholar, musician, man of the world, and jurist, his culture and 
his endowments were such as to make him an appreciative 
observer of life and institutions here ; for he united rare 
powers of observation and reflection with adequate sensibil- 


ity to the beautiful and the true. He was so tall, that his 
brother judges called him the drum major of the court of 
cassation. He was an hdbituS of Madame Recamier'0 
charming salon. Balzac expressed the opinion that no 
writer, except La Bruy^re and La Rochefoucauld, ever gave 
to French phrases such vigorous relief. Since the death of 
Brillat-Savarin, science has thrown new light upon many sub- 
jects connected with those so agreeably discussed in the 
" Physiologic du- Gout ; '* still the scope and style of tibe 
work give it prominence. The application of science to gas- 
tronomy, of taste and wisdom to the art of human nutrition, 
was thus initiated in a most attractive manner, and the ind- 
dentd relations of the subject shown to be identical with the 
best mterests <ff sodiety. The author varies his disquisition 
by logical, anecdotical, and eloquent alternations. His per- 
sonal experience is often made to illustrate his speculative 
opinions. In the chapter devoted to " Coq d'Inde," or " Din- 
don," after describing the turkey as the most beautiful gift 
which the New World has made to the Old, treating as para- 
doxical the tradition that it was known to the ancients, de- 
scribing its introduction to Europe by the Jesuits, discussing 
its natural history, its financial importance, and its gastro- 
nomic value, he thus describes an eoqploU duprofesseur: 

"DnriDg my residence at Hartford, in Oonnecticnt, I had the 
pleasure of shooting a wild turkej. This exploit deserves to be 
transmitted to posterity, and I record it with the more complaisance, 
inasmuch as I was the hero. A venerable American farmer had in- 
vited me to sport on bis domain ; he lived near the least-settled por- 
tion of the State ; he promised me excellent game, and anthorized me 
to bring a friend. Mr. King, mj companion, was a remarkable 
sportsman ; he was passionately fond of the exercise, but, after hav- 
ing killed bis bird, be regarded himself as a murderer, and made the 
victim^s fate the subject of moral reflections and interminable elegies. 
On a beautiful morning in October, 1794, we left Hartford on hired 
horses, hoping to reach our destination, five mortal leagues distant, 
before the evening. Although the route was scarcely indicated by 
travel, we arrived without accident, and were received with that 
cordial and unpretending hospitality which is expressed in actional 
rather than words: in short, we were immediately made to feel 


comfortable and at home— men, horses, and dogs— according to their 
respective wants and convenience. Two honrs were spent in exam- 
ining the farm and its dependencies ; I would describe all this in de- 
tail, bat I prefer to introduce to the reader the four beautiful daugh- 
ters of Monsieur Bulow, to whom our visit was an important incident. 
Their ages ranged from sixteen to twenty ; thej were radiant with 
the freshness of health, and thcj possessed that simplicity, ease, and 
frankness which the most common actions develop into a thousand 
charms. Soon after our return from the walk, we were seated at a 
table abundantly provided ; — a superb piece of corned beef, a fine stew, 
a magnificent leg of mutton, plenty of vegetables, and, at each end 
of the table, enormous jars of excellent cider, with which I could not 
be satiated. When we had proved to our host tliat we were genuine 
sportsmen, at least in regard to appetite, the conversation turned upon 
the object of our visit He pointed out the best places for game, the 
landmarks whereby we could find our way back, and the farmhouses 
at which we could procure refreshments. During this discussion the 
ladies had prepared some excellent tea, of which we drank several 
cups; after which, ascending to a double-bedded room, we enjoyed 
the delicious sleep induced by exorcise and good cheer. The next 
morning, after partaking of r^reshment ordered to be in readiness by 
Monsieur Bulow, we started for a day's sport, and I found myself, for 
the first time, in a virgin forest I wandered there with delight, ob- 
serving the effects of time, both productive and destructive ; and 
amused myself by following the different periods in the life of an 
oak, from the moment it breaks through the mould with two little 
leaves, until all that remains of it is a long black trace — the dast of 
its heart. Mr. King reproached me for these abstract musings ; and 
we began the sport in earnest; shooting numerous small but fat and 
tender partridges : we bagged six or seven gray squirrels, which are 
much esteemed here ; and, at last, my happy star brought us into the 
midst of a flock of wild turkeys. They followed, at short intervals, 
one after the other, with rapid, brief flights, and uttering loud cries. 
Mr. King shot first, and ran on ; most of the flock were soon out of 
range, bat the largest bird rose ten paces before me ; I fired instantly, 
and he fell dead. One must be a sportsman to conceive the delight 
which this beautiful shot occasioned me. I seized the superb fowl, 
and a quarter of an hour afterward heard Mr. King calling for aid ; 
hastening toward him, I found that the assistance he craved was 
help in finding a turkey which ho protended to have shot, but which 
had mysteriously disappeared. I put my dog on the trace ; but he 
only led us among thickets and brambles, which a man could hardly 
]>enetrate ; it was necessary to abandon the pursuit, which my com- 
panion did in a fit of ill humor that lasted all the rest of the day. 


The remftiDder of oar sport does not merit description. In retaining^ 
we became confased in the woods, and ran no small risk of passfaig 
the night there ; but the silvery voices ot the ladies Bulow and the 
shouts of their father, who had the kindness to seek ns, guided us 
back. The four sisters were in fbll dress : fresh robes, new girdles, 
beautiful bonnets, and bright shoes, proclaimed that they had made 
a toilette in our honor ; and I had, on my side, equal intention to 
make myself agreeable to these ladies, one of whom accepted my arm 
with as much candor and propriety as if she had been my wife. Qq 
reaching the house we found a supper already served ; but, before 
partaking of it, we seated ourselves an instant near a bright fire, 
which had been kindled, although the weather did not make it indis- 
pensable ; we found it, however, most welcome. This custom is, 
doubtless, adopted from the aborigines, who always have a fire on 
their hearth ; perhaps thence came the tradition of Frauds de Sales, 
who said a fire was desirable twelve months in the year. We ate as 
if half fEonished, and finished the evening with an enormous bowl of 
punch ; and a conversation, wherein our host was more free than the 
previous evening, occupied us far into the night "We talked of the 
War of Independence, in which Monsieur Bulow had served as a supe* 
rior oflScer ; of La Fayette, who grows continually in the gratefal 
appreciation of the Americans, and whom they always designate by 
his title — the Marquis ; of agriculture, which then was enriching the 
United States, and finally of that dear France which I love all the 
more since I was obliged to quit her shores. To vary the conversa- 
tion, M. Bulow, from time to time, said to his oldest daughter: 
* Maria, give us a song ; ' and she sang, without being urged, and with 
an embarrassment that was charming, the national song, the com- 
plaint of Queen Mary, and trial of Mc^or Andr6, which are very pop- 
ular in this country. Maria had taken a few lessons, and, in this 
isolated region, passed for an adept ; but her singing derived all its 
merit from the quality of her voice, at once sweet, fresh, and em- 
phatic. The next day we left, notwithstanding the most friendly re- 
monstrances ; for I hod indispensable duties to fulfil. While the 
horses were preparing, Monsieur Bulow took roe aside and said, ' Yon 
see ih me, my dear sir, a happy man, if there is one on earth : all that 
you see around and within is mine. These stockings my daughters knit ; 
my shoes and garments are provided by my flocks and herds; they 
contribute, also, with my garden and fields, to furnish a simple and 
substantial nourishment ; and, what is the best eulogy upon our (Gov- 
ernment, is the fact, that thousands of Connecticut farmers are not 
less content than myself; whose doors, too, like my own, are with- 
out locks. The taxes here are not large ; and, when they are paid^ 
we can sleep in peace. Congress favors our industry with AU iiB 


power ; mftimfaetiirers are eager to take whatever snrplns produce 
we have to sell ; and I have money laid up, and am aboat to dispose 
of grain at twent/-fonr dollars a ton, which nsually sells for eight. 
All this comes from the liberty we have conquered and founded npon 
good laws. I am master in my own domain ;' and it will surprise you 
to know that I never hear the sound of aidrum, except on the Fourth 
of July, the glorious anniyersary of our independence, and never see 
uniforms, soldiers, or bayonets.' During the whole period of return 
I was absorbed in profound reflections ; and you may well believe that 
these last words of Monsieur Bulow occupied my mind. At last I had 
another subject of meditation : I thought how it was best to have 
my turkey cooked and served. I was not without perplexity, as I 
feared it would be difficult to find at Hartford all the requisite means; 
for I wished to dispose of my trophy in the most effective and bril- 
liant manner. I make a painful sacrifice in suppressing the details of 
profound study — the aim whereof was to treat in a distinguished man- 
ner the American guests whom I had engaged for the banquet. Suf- 
fice it to say that the wings of the partridges were served aupapiU 
loUy and the gray squirrels eaur iouillonnes au tin de Jfadh'e, As to 
the turkey, which constituted our only plate of roast, it was charm- 
ing to behold, fragrant to inhale, and delicious to the taste : so much 
80 that, until the last morsel had disappeared, we heard from all sides 
of the table the exclamations : IVis-bon, extremement bon ! 0^ man 
cher mormeur^ quel glorieux morceau / " 

From a region of vast promise, the United States bad 
become one of accomplished destiny, so far as the establish- 
ment of a novel and extensive free government is concerned ; 
and the results, economical, political, and social, in full de- 
velopment. Accordingly, the exploration of the agriculturist 
and manufacturer, the comments of the practical emigrant, 
and the social gossip, began to give way to the speculations 
of the philosopher ; science investigated what curiosity had 
originally observed ; and our country won the earnest thought 
of the humanitarian analyst, intent upon tracing laws of civil 
life and popular growth under the extraordinary physical, 
moral, and social influences of the New World. A yoimg 
Frencliman who came to America as commissioner, to report 
upon our system of prison discipline, in 1830, subsequently 
published a work on the United States quite diflTercnt in scope 
and aim from those we have before noted. Whatever may be 


thought of Alexis de Tocqueville's views of ^^ Democracy in 
America," that treatise began a new era in the literatore of 
American travel.* It seriously grasped the problems of huknan 
life, destiny, and progress involved in an Anglo-Saxon repub- 
lic OD the immense scale of these United States. The pecu- 
liar claim and character of De Tocqueville's work is, that, 
ignoring, in a great measure, the superficial aspects and casual 
traits of the country and people, he has patiently and pro- 
fouudly examined and reported the elementary civic life 
thereof, with a view to ascertidn and demonstrate absolute 
political and social truth. A brief analysis, or even a run- 
ning commentary on such a treatise, would do it no justice ; 
and a more elaborate discussion is inconsistent with the limits 
of a volume like this. The necessity for either course is 
obviated by the fact that De Tocqueville's work is so familiar 
to all thinkers, and so accessible to all readers. To indicate 
the scope and motives of the author, we have but to recur 
to his own introductory statement : 

^' It is not merely to satisfy a legitimate curiosity that I 
have examined America. My wish has been to find instruc- 
tion by which we may ourselves profit. Whoever should 
imagine that I have intended to write a panegyric, would be 
strangely mistaken, and, on reading this work, he will per- 
ceive tbat such is not my design. Nor has it been my object 
to advocate any form of government in particular ; for I am 
of opinion that absolute excellence is rarely to be found in 
any legislation. I have not even affected to discuss whether 
the social revolution, which I believe to be irresistible, is ad- 
vantageous or prejudicial to mankind. I have acknowledged 
this revolution as a fact already accomplished, or on the eve 
^f accomplishment; and I have selected the nation from 

* " De la D^mocratie en Am^rique,*' par A. de Tocquerille, 4 Yol3^ Sro, 
Paris, 1885-'41. 

De Tocqueville^s ^ Democracy in America," translated by Henrj Reeire^ 
Esq. ; edited, with notes, the translation revised and in great part rewritten, 
and the additions made to the recent Paris editions now first translated, bj 
Francis Bowen, Alford Professor of Moral Philoeophj in Hanrazd Uniyerritj ; 
2 vols., post Sva 

ramroH tbaybllbrs and wbttsbs. 181 

among those who have undergone it, in which its develop- 
ment has been the most peaoefnl and the most complete, in 
order to discern its natural consequences, and, if it be pos- 
sible, to distinguish the means by which it may be rendered 
profitable. I confess that in America I saw more than 
America ; I $(mght the image of democracy itself, with its 
inolinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in 
order to learn what we have to fear or to hope from its 

Thus it is universal principles, and not special traits, that 
M. de Tocqueville discusses. It is because of the identity of 
American derelopment with human destiny, and not as a 
fragmentary phenomenon and a peculiar nationality, that he 
deemed it worthy of his conscientious stiidy. In the first 
part of his work, he shows ^^ the tendency ^ven to the laws 
by the democracy of America ; " in the second, ^^ the influ- 
ence which the equality of conditions and the rule of democ- 
racy exercise on civil society." The mere mention of such 
texts indicates at once the vastly superior aim and higher 
motives of De Tocqueville, when compared with so many other 
conmientators on America. Not as a social critic, a natural- 
ist, a complacent vagabond, a pedantic raconteur^ or a viva- 
cious gossip, but as a humane philosopher, does he approach 
the problem of American life, institutions, and destiny. 
Hence the permanent value and present significance of his 
woriE, than which no abstract political treatise was ever so 
frequently quoted and referred to in the current discussions 
of the hour. The prophetic wisdom of his work proves how 
justly he declared : *'*' I have undertaken not to see difierently, 
but to look farther than parties ; and, while they are busied 
for the morrow, I have turned my thoughts to the future." 

The mature and wholesome fruit of such conscientious 
intelligence has long been recognized both at home and 
abroad. " M. de Tocqueville," writes Vericour, " has revealed 
to Europe the spirit of the American laws, deduced from a 
comprehensive survey of usages and institutions. He has 
dec(Hnpo8ed, with a firm and skilful hand, the curious 


mechanism of this new government. In a calm and dispas- 
sionate spirit he investigates its action, effects, impulses, and 
destinies, gradually leading his reader to a profound knowl- 
edge of America ; while, upon manifold questions of the 
gravest interest to Europe, affecting its future progress and 
welfare, he throws unexpected streams of light." "With the 
fondness for broad generalization from inadequate premises, 
and for spedfic inferences from casual facts, which makes so 
many of his countrymen philosophize charmingly, but at ran- 
dom, De Tocqueville yet seized upon some vital principles of 
our national life, clearly and truly illustrated some normal 
tendencies and traits of our civil and social character, and 
initiated a method of observation and discussion more 
thoughtful, authentic, and wise than any one of his more 
superficial predecessors. No one can read his work without 
finding it full of valuable suggestions, and often profoundly 
significant. He looked upon the country with the eye of a 
philosopher ; and, however the prejudices of his own country 
and culture may have exaggerated some and obscured other 
pecceptions, the spirit of his survey was comprehensive, 
humane, and acute. The geographical peculiarities of the 
country, the origin of her Anglo-American colonists, and 
their different national elements, are briefly considered. The 
" advanced theory of legislation " of the first laws enacted ; 
the Puritan as distinguished from the English character of 
the colonists; the system of townships in New England; 
the predominance of popular will ; the ideas of honor, of 
equality, administration, prerogative, suffrage, law ; the alle- 
giance to education and religion, trial by jury, the Federal 
Constitution — each distinctive form and feature of our politi- 
cal system is described and considered ; and then the reflex 
influence of these upon manners, language, labor, family life, 
letters, art, and individual character, is more or less truly 
indicated — our restlessness of temper, monotonous social 
experience, devotion to physical well-being, absorption in tfie 
immediate, unchastened style of speech and writing, mate- 
rialism, subservience to public opinion. The unique privi- 


bges and peculiar dangers bom of onr political condition, 
are defined and delineated, not, indeed, with strict accuracy, 
but often with salutary wisdom and rare perspicacity. 

Alexis de Tocqueville was bom at Paris, in 1805. He 
studied for some time at the College of Metz ; travelled with 
one of his brothers in Italy and Sicily ; was attached, after 
bis return, to the court of justice at Versailles, where his 
fiither, the £)ount de Tocqueville, was prefect. While per- 
forming the duties of JugerAvditeur^ he found time to 
engage with ardor in political studies. After the Revolution 
of 1830, he obtained from the Ministry of the Interior a mis- 
non to America, for the purpose of examining our system of 
prison discipline. In 1831 he came to the United States with 
his fnend M. de Beaumont, and, after a year's residence, 
returned to Paris, and soon after published the first two vol- 
umes of his " Democracy in America " — a work that estab- 
lished his reputation as an original and systematic thinker on 
political questions and social science. He married an English 
lady; became a member of the Chamber of Deputies, being 
reelected from Yalognes for nine successive years. Mean- 
time he was chosen a member of the Institute, received an 
academy prize, and published the additional volumes of his 
work on America. Eminently conscientious and useful in 
public, and happy in domestic life, De Tocqueville continued 
to think, write, and speak on subjects of vital social interest, 
ontil the failure of his health enforced a life of retirement, 
which was peculiarly congenial to his studious habits and 
devated sympathies. "There ever seemed to stand before 
bia imagination," says a recent critic, "two great moral 
figures, sufficient to occupy his entire being, ever correlative, 
continually intermingled : the one, France, her Revolution and 
its consequences ; the other, England, her constitutional lib- 
erty and its gigantic democratic development in the United 
States of America." With all his recognition of democracy 
as the inevitable political tendency and test of humanity, he 
thoroughly understood how few were able to conceive or 
enjoy tiie legitimate fruits of liberty as an inspiration of 


character. ^^It enters,'' be writes, ^^into the large hearts 
Gk>d has prepared to receiye it ; it fiUs them, it enraptnrea 
them : but to the meaner minds which have never felt it, it 
is past finding out.'' 

He was one of the deputi^ arrested on the 2d of Decem- 
ber, 1851, at the time of Napoleon ]II.'s cot^ d^itaty and 
was confined for a time at Vincennes. ^^ Here,'' writes hia 
friend and biographer, De Beanmont, ^' ended his political 
life. It ended with liberty in Prance." We have the same 
authority for a beautiful and harmonious estimate of his 
character both as a writer and a man. He died at the age 
of fifty-four, in 1859. 

^^ I have said," remarks his intimate companion and faith- 
ful biographer, ^^ that he had many friends ; but he experi- 
enced a still greater happiness — that of never losing one of 
them. He had also another happiness : it was the knowing 
how to love them all so well, that none ever complained of 
the share he received, even while seeing that of the others. 
He was as ingenious as he was sincere in his attachments ; 
and never, perhaps, did example prove better than his, ^ com- 
bien Tesprit ajoute de charmes k la bont6." 

'^ Good as he was, he aspired without ceasing to become 
better; and it is certain that each day he drew nearer to 
that moral perfection which seemed to him the only end 
worthy of man He was more patient, more labo- 
rious, more watchful to lose nothing of that life which he 
loved so weU, and which he had the right to find beautiful — 
he who made of it so noble a use I Finally, it may be said 
to his honor, that at an epoch in which each man tends to 
concentrate his regard upon himself, he had no other aim than 
that of seeking for truths useful to his fellows, no other pas- 
sion than that of increasing their well-being and their dig- 

An episode of De Tocqueville's American tour, published 
after his death, evinces a sensibility to nature and a power 
of observation in her sphere, which are rarely combined with 
such logical tendencies as his political disquisitions manifest 


It k a remarkable fact, that a Tisit to one of the oldest seats 
of ciyilizatioii, in his youth, inspired him with that love of 
economical and hmnane studies which led, in his prime, to 
the sojourn in and the examination of the United States. 
His biographer tells us that, during De Tocqueville's tour in 
Sicily, *^ witnessing the misery inflicted on the people by a 
detestable Gk>Temment, he was led to reflect on the primary 
conditions on which depends the decay or the prosperity of 
nations.^ We learn, from the same authority, that his mis- 
sion to the United States was a pretext for, not the cause of, 
investigations there. The secret of his liberal and earnest 
spirit of inquiry, whereby his work attained permanent sig- 
nificance and philosophic value, is to be found not less in the 
character thui the mind of De Tocqueville ; for his intimate 
friend and the pompanion of his travels assures us, that 
** the great problem of the destiny of man impressed him 
with daily increasing awe and reverence." It is this senti- 
ment, so deep and prevailing, which enabled him, as a social 
and political critic, to rise " above the narrow views of party 
and the passions of the moment ;" for it was his noble dis- 
tinction as a writer, a citizen, and a man, '^ in a selfish age, to 
aim only at the pursuit of truths useful to his fellow crea- 
tures." De Tocqueville was surprised and attracted by the 
" admirable and unusual good sense of the Americans." He 
entered with singular zest into the freshness and adventure 
of border life, enjoyed a bivouac in the forests of Tennessee, 
and a " fortnight in the wilderness," where he saw the In- 
dian, the pioneer, and the different classes of emigrka ; 
noting the sensations and the sentiment of this experience, 
with as much accuracy and relish as breathe from his specu- 
lations on the institutions and the destiny of the New 
World. He found " mosquitoes the curse of the American 
woods," yet realized therein the " soft melancholy, the vague 
aversion to civilized life, and the sort of savage instinct" 
which so many poetical and adventurous minds, from Boone 
to Chateaubriand, have acknowledged under the same influ- 
ences. His analysis of the French, American, half-caste, and 

186 Amkbocjl and heb ooiocektatobs. 

Indian inhabitants of the new settlements is discriroinating ; 
and he was keenly alive to the contrast of this new life and its 
primitive conditions to that he had known in Europe. ^^Here," 
he writes, ^' man still seems to steal into life.'' The uniform 
tone of character, and the similarity of aspect incident to the 
' fact that the dwellers in the woods of America are, with few 
exceptions, emigrants from civilized conmiunities, struck De 
Tocqueville forcibly, accustomed as he was to a peasant class, 
^d those diversities of character which spring from feudal 
distinctions. His remarks on this subject are true and sug- 
gestive : 

" In America, more even than in Europe, there is bat one society, 
whether rich or poor, high or low, commercial or agricultural ; it is 
everywhere composed of the same elements. It has all been raised or 
reduced to the saftie level of civilization. The man whom you left in 
the streets of New York, you find again in the solitude of the ftr 
West ; the same dress, the same tone of mind, the same language, the 
same habits, the same amusements. No rustic simplicity, nothiog 
characteristic of the wilderness, nothing even like our villages. This 
peculiarity may be easily explained. The portions of territorj first 
and most fully peopled have reached a high degree of civilization. 
Education has been prodigally bestowed ; the spirit of equality has 
tinged with singular uniformity the domestic habits. Now, it is re- 
markable that the men thus educated are those who every year mi- 
grate to the desert. In Europe, a man lives and dies where he was 
bom. In America, you do not see the representatives of a race 
grown and multiplied in retirement, having long lived unknown to 
the world, and left to its own efforts. The inhabitants of an isolated 
region arrived yesterday, bring with them the habits, ideas, and 
wants of civilization. They adopt only so much of savage life as is 
absolutely forced upon them; hence yon see the strangest contrasts. 
You step from the wilderness into the streets of a city, fi'om the wild- 
est scenes to the most smiling pictures of civilized life. If night does 
not surprise you, and force you to sleep under a tree, you may reach 
a village where you will find everything, even French fashions and 
caricatures from Paris. The shops of Buffalo or Detroit are as well 
supplied with all these things as those of New York. The looms of 
Lyons work for both alike. You leave the high road ; you plunge 
into paths scarcely marked out ; you come at length upon a ploughed 
field, a hut built of rough logs, lighted by a single narrow window ; 
you think that you have at last reached the abode of an American 


peMsnt ; 70a are wrong. Ton enter this hut, which looks the abode 
of miaery ; the master is dressed as you are ; his language is that of 
the towns. On his mde table are books and newspapers ; he takes 
you hurriedly aside to be informed of what is going on in Europe, 
and asks you what has most struck you in his country. ^He will trace 
on pi^r for you the plan of a campaign in Belgium, and will teach 
yon gravely what remains to be done for the prosperity of France. 
Yon might take him for a rich proprietor, come to spend a few nights 
in a shooting box. And, in fact, the log hut is only a halting place 
for the American — a temporary submission to necessity. As soon as 
the surrounding fields are thoroughly cultivated, and their owner has 
lime to occupy himself with superfluities, a more spacious dwelling 
will succeed the log hut, and become the home of a large family of 
children, who, in their turn, will some day build themselves a dwell- 
ing in the wilderness." 

As was inevitable, De Tocqneville, in describing and dis- 
cussing our governmental institutions, made some mistakes. 
Looking at the organization of the central and State Govern- 
ments in the abstract, he could not perceive any guarantee 
for the supremacy of the former in case of serious dissatisfac- 
tion on the part of a State. To one familiar with the mili- 
tary and administrative system of Europe, it is not surprising 
that the national power should appear inadequate and un- 
sanctioned in such a contingency ; but farther consideration 
would have modified this scepticism, had the sagacious and 
honest critic been more practically acquainted witii the latent 
agencies at work. The fact is to be found in the history of 
the Constitution itself, wherein it is made apparent that the 
surrender of State sovereignty to national law was regarded 
as absolute, and not experimental. The hesitation of some 
States, the arguments for and against union, so able, deliber- 
ate, and earnest, and the entire tone and tactics of the peer- 
less Convention which, at last, gave authority to that great 
instrument of republican rule, all show that the compact was 
a vital and permanent inauguration of popular sentiment 
and embodiment of popular will. Less binding afiSliations 
had been tried under the old Confederacy, and the indepen- 
dent coexistence of the several States had brought the 


ooimtry to the verge of ndn, before the wise and patriotic 
instinctfl of the people led them to merge the life of States, 
so flickering and fugitive, into that of a nation so self-sabsist- 
cot an^ powerful ; and to the maintenance thereof the people 
tfms became forever pledged, and hence prepared to defend 
and enforce what thej had calmly. and voluntarily decreed. 
Hence the resources of aU the States became pieced to the 
integrity of the nation ; precisely as, in so many instances, in 
the history of other Governments, the will of the majority has 
made the law, the syst^n, the form, and the foundation, 
thenceforth the object of loyal support, protection, and faith. 
Recent events have, indeed, proved the fallacy of De Tocque- 
viUe^s remark, that ^^ if one of the States desires to withdraw 
its name from the compact, it would be difficult to disprove 
its right of doing so, and the Federal Gk>vemment would 
have no means of maintaining its claims either by force or 
right" Even this experiment has never yet been tried, no 
legitimate and free expression of the desire '' to withdraw its 
name from the compact'' ever yet having been made by the 
constitutional voice of any State. The '^ secession'' of 1861 
was effected by as flagrant violation of State as of Federal law. 
The prescience and wisdom of De Tocqueville are em- 
phatic in what he says of the dangers attending our insti- 
tutions. Herein, instead of seeking in the form of govern- 
ment itself the only causes for vigilance, and finding sophis- 
tical arguments to decry republican manners and culture, after 
the prejudiced style of most English writers, he notes the 
local and incidental influences, the facts of nature and of his- 
tory peculiar to America, as threatening to the integrity of 
the republic — especially the disproportionate increase of cer- 
tain States ; the jealousy of the slaveholders and their eco- 
nomical theories ; the conflict between free and slave labor, 
and the consequences thereof; the sudden growth of popula- 
tion ; universal suffrage without equal or adequate education ; 
the frequency of elections — and utters thereon many philo- 
sophical arguments full of insight and sympathy. ^^ There 
are, at the present time," he observes, ^^ two great nations in 


the world, which seem to tend toward the eame end, although 
they started from different points : I allude to the Russians 
and the Americans. The world learned their existence and 
their greatness at ahnost the same time. The Anglo-Ameri- 
can relies upon personal interest to acomplish his ends, and 
gives free scope to the unguided exertions and common sense 
of the citizens ; the Russian centres all the authority of soci- 
etj in a single arm. The principal instrument of the former 
is freedom ; of the latter, servitude. Their starting point is 
different, and their courses are not the same ; yet each of 
them seems to be marked out by the will of Heaven to sway 
the destinies of half the globe.'' 

"It was my intention," observes De Tocqueville, "to 
depict, in another work, the influence which the equality of 
condition and the rule of democracy exercise upon the civil 
society, the habits, and the manners of the Americans. I 
begin, however, to feel less ardor for the accomplishment of 
this object since the excellent work of my friend and' travel- 
ling companion, M. de Beaumont, has been given to the 

The grave statistical work with which the name of De 
Beaumont was identified, made his advent as a romance 
writer a surprise. But he aspired to no such title. His 
" Marie " deals with historical and social facts under a very 
thin disguise of fiction, adopted rather to give free scope to 
speculation in the form of imaginary conversations, than to 
subserve dramatic effect. The thread of the story is evolved 
from what the author found to be a prevalent and permanent 
social prejudice. He relates an incident which occurred in a 
Northern city during his sojourn in America, which made a 
great impression upon his muid. A gentleman of dark com- 
plexion, and regarded as a mulatto, was forcibly ejected from 
the theatre, simply and only because of his color. M. de 
Beaumont sought to trace the extent and ascertain the force 
of this " barri^re plac6 entre les deux races par un prejugo 

* ** ICarie, ou L'Esdayage anx £tat8 Unis, Tableau de Moeon Am^ricaincs,** 
par GustaTe de Beaumont, Broxelles, 1826. 


flociale ;" and this fo^^ms the incipiratioii of his story, wherein 
the course of true love does not nm smooth because of a 
difference, not of character, refinement, or position, but of 
chemical proportions in the blood of the lovers. Much ro- 
mantic emotion and no little social and moral philosophy are 
ingeniously deduced from this circumstance. K there are 
few startling incidents, there is a charming tone and grace of 
style. If the ^ situations " are not dramatic, they are often 
picturesque. Extreme statements occur in the discussions, 
but they are modified by explanations given in the copious 
notes appended to the story. While antipathies of race and 
the problem of slavery constitute the serious and pervading 
themes, manners 9nd customs in general are illustrated and 
considered with reference to the institutions of the United 
States. There is little originality in these topics or their 
treatment. They have long been staple texts for theoretical 
and practical criticism by the pulpit and the press. M. de 
Beaumont, or rather his imaginary characters, comment <hi 
the materialism, the devotion to gain, the absence of taste, 
the nomadic habits, the unimaginative spirit, and the monoto- 
nous routine of American life. Elections, emeutes, Sundays, 
sects, domestic and social tendencies and traits, are deline- 
ated often in a partial or exaggerated way, yet, on the whole, 
with candor, and in much more pleasing and finished lan- 
guage than we often find in books of traveL Our sociable 
arrangements are attributed in part to our comparative equal- 
ity of condition, which is also justly declared to promote 
marriage, whereas rank, in France, discourages it. The 
total separation of church and state, and the consequent mul- 
tiplicity of sects, however favorable to religious convictions, 
are described as wholly opposed to the development of art. 
An industrial career being the destiny of the American, he 
is soon in the way of gaining at least subsistence, and a 
home and family of his own is the natural consequence ; so 
that one of the rare things in America, according to this 
observer, is " an old boy of twenty-five " — in other words, a 
young bachelor. 


From Baltimore the reader is transported to un farit 
triergty and refreshed with some delioions landscapes ; for De 
Beaumont, as well as. his friend and companion De Tocqne- 
Tille, had a keen eje for nature in the New World, and de- 
scribes her wild and characteristic features with viyid truth 
and feeling. Few modem books of travel in America give 
a more complete, authentic, and interesting sketch of the 
condition of the different Indian tribes. They and the ne- 
groes occupy a large space in the descriptions and discussions 
of this work, and obviously enlist the warmest and most 
intelligent sympathies of the author. His comments on the 
lack of artistic enthusiasm, of hon govt and tact fin et mbtU 
in literature, and on the intensely practical tone of mind, the 
pride and jealousy of which money is the motive and object, 
the want of time for sentiment and gallantry, the partisan 
ferocity, and the dearth of romance and repose, are some- 
times extravagant, but often piquant and just, and not unfre- 
quendy amusing from their partial recognition of latent facts 
and feelings whereby their power and prevalence are essen- 
tially modified.. We are told there is no heureuse pauvreti in 
America, and no small theatres, and — ^as consequent upon the 
latter defect — ^a lamentable want of dramatic talent and 
taste ; and that, while love is wholly in abeyance to interest, 
our charitable institutions are original and effective. The 
extreme " facilite de s'enricher et d'arriver au sacerdoce," it 
is declared, produces serious and often sinister social results. 
As with all Frenchmen, the different relative positions of the 
sexes, and the character and career of women in America 
and in France, excite frequent comment. "Les femmes 
Americaines,'^ we are told, " ont, en g6n6ral, un esprit om^ 
mais peu d'imaginatiou et plus de raison que de sensibilite ; 
pour toute fille qui a plus de seize ans la manage est la grand 
int^r6t de la vie. En France elle lo d6sire ; en Am6rique elle 
le cherche: chez nous la coquetterie est une passion; en 
Amenque un calcul." He is touched with the fragility of 
constitution which makes the beauty of our women so pro- 
verbially transient, and observes that their girlish days are 


the most free and happj ; for whfle, in France, marriage 
brings a liberty to the wife unknown to the maiden, in 
America it ends the irresponsible gayety, and initiates '^ les 
devoirs ansteres an foyer domestique." There is mnch truth 
and wisdom in many of the generalizations in M. de Beau- 
mont's graceful supplement to M. de Tocqueinlle's stem 
analysis of facts. But, while the reasoning and principles 
of the latter are quite as, if not more significant to-day than 
when they were written, many of the former's comments 
have lost their special application, and may now be quite as 
justly appropriated by liis own countrymen as by Americana 
— so completely, in a quarter of a century, has chivalrio 
France become material, and money overpowered rank, sub- 
sidized political aspirations, and made uniform, luxurious, and 
mercenary the standard tone and tndts of social life ; while, 
in America, new and momentous practical issues, have sue* 
ceeded the speculative phase of slavery, and a direct physical 
and moral conflict between its champions and those of free 
constitutional government, has developed unimagined re- 
sources of character and results of democratic rule, which 
may yet purify and exalt the national ideal and the social 
traits, so as to make wholly traditional many of the worse 
^* blots on the escutcheon" so emphatically designated by 
this and other humane and enlightened commentators on 

Another of De Tocqueville's most congenial friends was 
J. J. Ampere, so long the amiable and accomplished profes- 
sor of belles lettres in the College of France, and the biogra- 
pher of the author of " Democracy in America " judiciously 
refers to Ampere's '' Promenade en Am^rique " * as an excel- 
lent illustration of his friend's philosophical work, giving 
the facts and impressions which confirm and explain it. Not 
only did community of opinion an<\ mutual affection suggest 
this relation between the two authors, diverse in plan and 
power as are their respective books on this country ; but it 

* ** Promenade en Am^riqu^" par J. J. Ampere, de TAcad^mie Fnn9aiBe, 
Paris, 1866. 


was when reading De Tocqneville^B " Democracy," daring a 
trip np the Rhine, that Ampere conceived the desire and 
purpose to visit the United States. Looking up from the 
thoughtful page to some ruined tower or memorable- scene, 
he had the relics of feudalism before his eyes, while his mind 
was occupied with the modem development of humanity in 
the most free and fraternal civic institutions. He had trav- 
elled in Greece, Italy, and the East, and brought a scholar's 
wisdom and a poet's sympathy to the illustration of that 
experience; and now, under the inspiration of his friend's 
treatise on the condition and prospects of the Western repub- 
lic, he felt a strong interest in the experiment whereby he 
could compare the New with the Old World, and observe the 
most intense life of the present as he had explored the calm 
monuments of the past. Ampere's record of his American 
tour is singularly unpretending. It resembles, in tone and 
method, the best conversation. The style is pure and ani- 
mated, and the thoughts naturally suggested. He describes 
what he sees with candor and geniality, criticizes without 
the slightest acrimony, and commends with graceful zeaL 
And yet, simple and unambitious as the narrative is, it affords 
a most agreeable, authentic, and suggestive illustration of De 
Tocqueville's theories. " Toujours," he exclaims, " la negli- 
gence Am6ricaine ! " in noting a shower of ignited cinders 
falling upon cotton bales on the deck of a crowded steam- 
boat ; and, in describing the substitute for bells in the hotel 
at New Orleans, he remarks : ^'Les sonnettes sont remplac^es 
par un appareil clectro-magnetique. En ce pays, non-seule- 
ment la science est appliqu6 i I'industrie, mais on Femploie 
anx offices les plus vulgaires. Au lieu de tirer le cordon 
d'une sonnette on fait jouer une pile de Yolta." 

The arrival of Kossuth gave Ampdre an excellent oppor- 
tunity to note the phases of popular feeling in America. He 
has diat catholic taste and temper so essential to ^ good trav- 
eller. He takes an interest in whatever relates to humanity, 
and his extensive reading and cosmopolitan experience place 
him en rapport with people and things, historical associations, 


and speculative opinions, with the greatest fadility. While 
devoting attention to those subjects which have always occo- 
pied intelligent travellers in America, he sought and enjoyed, 
to an uncommon extent, the companionship of men of letters 
and of science, and, when practicable, secured them as eice^ 
rani. On this account his work gives more exact and full 
information in regard to the intellectual condition and scien- 
tific enterprises of the country than any similar record of the 
same date. His intellectual appetite is eager, his social affini- 
ties strong, and his love of nature instinctive : hence the vari- 
ety and vividness of his observations. He describes a sunset 
and a political fete^ analyzes a sermon as well as a theory, 
can feel the meditative charm of Gray's Elegy while roam- 
ing, on an autumn afternoon, through Mount Auburn, and 
patientiy investigate the results of the penitentiary system in 
a model prison. Observatories, ornithological museums, the 
maps of the Coast Survey, the trophies of the Patent Office, 
private libraries and characters, the antiquities of the West 
and the social privileges of the East, schools, sects, botanical 
spedmens, machines, the physiognomy of cities and the 
aspects of primeval nature, embryo settiements and the 
process of an election, an opera or a waterfall — are each and 
an described and discussed with intelligence and sympathy. 
He recalled Irving's humorous- description of New York at 
the sight of a Dutch mansion ; examined the process of the 
sugar manufacture in Louisiana, discussed glaciers and geol- 
ogy with Agassiz, jurisprudence with Kent, Missisappi 
mounds with Davis, and the Alhambra with Irving. He 
contrasts the German and New England character in Ohio, 
traces the history of parties and the character of statesmen 
at Washington, and utters his calm but earnest protest 
agunst slavery while describing the hospitality of Carolina. 
He portrays with care and feeling the representative charac- 
ters of the land, and is picturesque in his scenic descriptions, 
drawing felicitous comparisons from his experience In Italy 
and the East. He calls Agassiz a veritable ei^fant des AlpeSy 
and Sparks the American Plutarch ; recognizes the military 


inftinot of the nation, since so remarkably manifest, and 
iptly reftrs to Volney, Chateaubriand, and other French 
trayellers. Sometimes his distinctions are fanciful : as when 
he attributes the different aspects under which he saw Long- 
fellow and Bryant — ^the one in his pleasant country house, 
and the other at his editorial desk — ^to political instead of 
professional causes ; but, usually, his insight is as sagacious 
as his observation is candid. He writes always like a scholar 
and a gentleman, and, as such, is justly revolted by the indif- 
ference exhibited toward travellers in this country, on the 
part of those in charge of public Conveyances. He truly 
declares the absence of indications and information in this 
regard a disgrace to our civilization, and gives some strik- 
ing examples of personal inconvenience, discomfort, and 
hazard thus incurred. Indeed, when we remember that 
Ampere, during his sojourn among us, was more or less of an 
invalid, his good nature and charitable spirit are magnani- 
mous, when left to wander in wet and darkness from one car 
to another, obliged to pass sleepless nights on board of 
steamers recklessly propelled and overloaded, robbed of his 
purse at a Presidential levee^ and subjected to so many other 
vexations. He was much interested in discovering what he 
calls a veine europienne pervading the educated classes, and 
was agreeably surprised to find so often an identity of cul- 
ture between his old friends in Europe and new ones in 
America, which made him feel at home and at ease. He pro- 
tests against the bombastic appellatives to which the Ameri- 
cans are prone. He was gratified to find liis illustrious 
father's scientific labors recognized by a professor at the 
Smithsonian Institute, and his own archaeological research by 
a lecturer at New Orleans. The sound of the bell saluting 
Mount Vernon, as he glided down the Potomac, touched him 
as did the ^^ tintement de I'Angelus dans la campagne Ro- 
maine.'' He felt, like mast of his countrymen, the " tristesse 
du dimanche " in America, but, unlike them, found congenial 
employment in a critical examination of the hymns, the homi- 
lies, and the character of the various denominations of Prot- 


estant Christians. Amused at the universality of the term 
'' lady " applied to the female sex in America, he yet soon 
learned to recognize^ in this deference, a secret of the social 
order where no rank organizes and restrains. Quakers and 
Mormons, cotton and architecture, aqueducts and Indians, 
Niagara and the prairies, a slave auction and a congressional 
debate, are with equal justice and sensibility considered in 
this pleasant ^^ Promenade en Amerique," which extends from 
Canada to Cuba and Mexico, and abounds in evidences of the 
humane sympathies, the literary accomplishment, and the 
social philosophy of the author. 

One of the most deservedly popular French economical 
works on the United States is that of Michael Chevalier. It 
contains valuable and comparatively recent statistical infor- 
mation, and is written with care, and, in general, with liberal- 
ity and discrimination. The ^' Voyage dans I'lnt^rieure des 
fitats Unis," by M. Bayard (Paris, 1779); Godfrey de 
Vigny's "Six Months in America'* (London, 1833); the 
" Essais Historiques et Politiques sur les Anglo-Am^ricaines,'' 
by M. Hilliard d'Ubertail (Brussels, 1781), and the "Re- 
cherches " on the same subject, by " un citoyen de Virginie " 
(Mazzei), as well as the account of the United States fur- 
nished " L'Univers, ou Histoire et Descriptions des Tons les 
Peuples " — a work of valuable reference, by M. Roux, who 
was formerly French Minister in this country, of which he 
gives a copious though condensed account — are among the 
many works more or less superseded as authorities, yet all 
containing some salient points of observation or suggestive 
reasoning. "La Spectateur Americaine," of Mandrillon, 
Cartier's " Nouvelle France," Bonnet's " iltats Unis ii la fin 
du 18"* Centurie," Beaujour's "Aper^u des fitats Unis," 
Gentry's "Influence of the Discovery of America," and 
Grasset's " Encyclopedic des Voyages," afford many sugges- 
tive and some original facts and speculations. Lavasseur's 
" Lafayette in America," * and Count O'Mahony's " Lettres 

* ** Lafayette in America in 1824-'26 ; or, A Journal of a Voyage to the 
United SUtes," by A. LaTasaeur, Secretary to General Lafiiyette, 2 vob^ 
12m0M Philadelphia, 1829 


sor les £tat8 Unis," contain some curious details and useful 
material. To these may be added, as more or less worthy of 
attention, of the earlier records, the ^^ Memoires de Baron 
La Honton,"* and later, the " Observations upon Florida," by 
Vignoles,f and the volumes of Clavi^re, Soutel, Engle, Fran- 
chere, Palessier, Bossu, Hariot, Chabert, Bouchet, Hurt- 
Binet, Ac 

Besides the more formal records of tours in America, 
and episodes of military memoirs devoted thereto, the inci- 
dental personal references in the correspondence of the gal- 
lant ofScers and noblemen of France who mingled in our best 
local society, at the Revolutionary era, afford vivid glimpses 
of manners and character, such* as an ingenious modem 
novelist would find admirable and authentic mcUerid. It was 
a period when republican simplicity coalesced with the refine- 
ments of education and the prestige of old-school manners, 
and therefore afforded the most salient traits. Some of the 
most ardent tributes to American women of that date were 
written from Newport, in Rhode Island, by their Gallic 
admirers ; and in these spontaneous descriptions, when 
stripped of rhetorical exaggeration, we discern a state of 
society and a phase of character endeared to all lovers of 
humanity, and trace both, in no small degree, to the institu- 
tions and local influences of the country. The Due de Lau- 
zun, when sent into Berkshire County, because his knowledge 
of English made his services as an envoy more available than 
those of hb brother officers, seems to regard the errand as 
little better than exile, and says, '^ Lebanon can only be com- 
pared to Siberia." Attached to the society of Newport, and 
domesticated with the Hunter family, he is never weary of 
expatiating upon the sweetness,- purity, and grace of the 
women of " that charming spot regretted by all the army." 

* La Honton*8 (Baron) ** Memoires de TAm^riqae Septentrionale, ou la Suite 
deeVojages, arec un petit Dictionnaire de la Langue du Pais/* 2 tomes, 12mo., 
map and plates, Amsterdam, 1705. 

f Yignoles' (Charles) "Observations upon the Floridas,*' 8yo., Kew Tork, 


And when De Vauban there introdnoed the Prince de Bro- 
glie to a pretty Quakeress, the former writes that he *' sud- 
denly beheld the goddess of grace and beauty — Minenra in 
person." It is a striking illustration of the social instinct 
of the French, that manners, character, and personal ap- 
pearance occupy so large a iipace in their conmientaries on 

"Other parts of America," says another officer, "were 
only beautiful by anticipation ; but the prosperity of Rhode 
Island was already complete. Newport, weU and regularly 
built, contained a numerous population. It offered delightfbl 
circles, composed of enlightened men and modest and hand* 
some women, whose talents heightened their personal attrac- 
tions." This was in 1782, ere the commercial importance 
of the port had been superseded, and when the belles of the 
town were the toast and the triumph of every cirde. La 
Rochefoucault and other French tourists, at a later period, 
found the prosperity of the town on the wane, and the ^social 
distinction modified ; yet none the less attractive and valuable 
are the fresh and fancifU but sincere testimonies to genuine 
and superior human graces and gift«, of the French memoirs. 

But such casual illustrations of the candid and kindly 
observation of our gallant allies, fade before the consistent 
and intelligent tributes of Lafayette, whose relation to 
America is one of the most beautiful historical episodes of 
modem times. After his youthful championship in the field, 
and his mature counsels, intercessions, and triumphant advo- 
cacy of our cause in France (for, " during the period," says 
Mr. Everett, " which intervened, from the peace of '83 to 
the organization of the Federal Government, Lafayette per- 
formed, in substance, the functions of our Minister"), when 
forty years had elapsed, he revisited the land for which he 
had fought in youth, to witness the physical and social, the 
moral and intellectual fruits of " liberty protected by law." 
And during this whole period, and to the time of his death, 
he was in correspondence, first with Washington and the 
leading men of the Revolution, and later with various per- 


Bonal fSriends. In his letters from and to America, there is 
constant indirect testimony to and illustration of the charao- 
ter of the people, the tendencies of opinion, the means and 
methods of life and goyemment, founded on observation, 
intercourse, and sympathy, and endeared and made emphatic 
by his devotion to our spotless. chief, his sacrifices for our 
cause, and his unswerving devotion to our political prin- 
ciples; in a word, by his vigilant and faidiful love of 

In 1824, De Pradt, formerly archbishop of Malines, and 
deputy to the Constituent Assembly from Normandy, a volu- 
minous political writer, published ^' L'Europe et l'Am6rique,'' 
in two volumes, the third of his works on this subject, '^ in 
which he gives an historical view of the principles of gov- 
ernment in the Old and New Worlds." Judicious critics pro- 
nounce lus style verbose and incorrect, and his views partial 
and shallow. His motto is, ^' Le genre humain est en marche 
et rien ne le fera r^trograder." 

Several of the French Protestant clergy have visited the 
United States within the last few years, and some of them 
have put on record their impressions, chiefly with regard to 
the actual state of Religion. In many instances, however, the 
important facts on this subject have been drawn from the 
copious and authentic American work of Dr. Baird.* Among 
books of this class, are " L'Am6rique Protestante," par M. 
Rey, and the sketches of M. Grandpierre and M. Fisch. 
The latter's observations on Religion in America, originally 
appeared in the "Revue Chretien," but were subsequently 
embodied in a small volume, which includes observations on 
other themes.f 

The latter work, though limited in scope, and the fruit of 
a brief visit, has an interest derived from the circumstance 
that the worthy pasteur arrived just before the fall of Sum- 
ter, and was an eyewitness and a conscientious though terse 
reporter of the aspects of that memorable period. He recog- 

* '* Religion in America,'* by Robert Baird, D. D. 

t *" Lee iuto Unis en 1861,'' par Georges Ilscb, Paris, 1862. 


nizes in the Americans '* nn peuple qui n^avait d'autre force 
publiqne que ceUe des id^es ;" and deprecates the hasty judg- 
ment and penrerse ignorance so prevalent in Europe in regard 
to ^' nne grande lutte o\)i se debattant les int^rdts les plus 
^lev^s de la morale et de la religion ; " and justly affirms that 
it is, in fact, ^^ le choc de deux civilizations et de deux re- 
ligions.'' M. Fisch, however, disclaims all intention of a 
complete analysis of national character. His book is mainly 
devoted to an account of the religious organization, condi- 
tion, and prospects of America, especially as seen from his 
own point of view. Many of the details on this subject are 
not only correct, but suggestive. He writes in a liberal and 
conscientious spirit. His sympathies are Christian, and he 
descants on education and faith in the United States with 
intelligent and candid zeal. Indeed, he was long at a loss to 
understand what provision existed in society to check and 
calm the irresponsible and exuberant energy, the heterogene- 
ous elements, and the self-reliance around him, until con- 
vinced that the latent force of these great conservative prin- 
ciples of human society were the guarantee of order and 
pledge of self-control. There is no people, he observes, who 
have been judged in so superficial a manner. America he 
regards as having all the petulance of youth, all the naivete 
of inexperience : all there is incomplete— in the process of 
achievement. This was his earliest impression on landing at 
New York, the scene whereof was " un bizarre melange de 
sauvagerie et de* civilization." But, after his patience had 
been nearly exhausted, he entered the city, emerging with 
agreeable surprise from muddy and noisome streets into 
Broadway, to find palaces of six or seven storied devoted to 
commerce, and to admire *' les figures fines et gradeuses, la 
d-marche legijre et libre des femmes, les allures vives de toute 
la population." The frank hospitality with which he was 
received, and the interesting study of his apecialiU as a tra\- 
eller, soon enlarged and deepened his impressions. He has a 
chapter on ^^ La lutte pr^sidentielle " which resulted in Lin- 
coln's election, the phenomena whereof he briefly describes. 


Then we haye a sketch entitled '^ Statistiqne religieose des 
Stats Unis ;" followed by judicions comments on the " lJnit6 . 
de r^glise Am^ricaine, son esprit et son influence." He 
oonsiderB Henry Ward Beecher an improvisatore — " mais o'est 
rimproTisation du g6nie;" and says, "L'on va entendre M. 
Beecher comme on irait a the&tre." He describes succinctly 
the system of public instruction ; alludes to the progress of 
art and letters ; expatiates on Venergie and Vaudace of the 
Americans ; is anecdotical and descriptive ; praises the land- 
scapes of Church and the sculpture of Crawford, Powers, 
and Palmer ; gives a chapter to the ^* Caract<^re national," 
and another to ^^ L'esclavage aux £tats Unis ;" closing with 
hopeful auguries for the future of the country under "le 
r6veil de la conscience," wherein he sees the cause and scope 
of ^ la crise actuelle ; " declaring that ^^ la vie puissante de 
I'Am^rique reprendra son paisible cours. Elle pourra se 
reprendre avec ime puissance incomparable sur une terre 
renouvelee, et le monde apprendra une fois de plus que TEvan- 
gile est la salut des nations, comme il est celui des individus." 
Brochures innumerable, devoted to special phases of 
American life, facts of individual experience, and themes of 
social speculation, swell the catalogue raisonnee of French 
writings in this department, and, if not of great value, often 
furnish salient anecdotes or remarks; as, for instance, M. 
August Carlier^s amusing little treatise on *^ La Manage aux 
£tats Unis," the statement of one voyageur who happened to 
behold for the first time a dish of curric, that the Americans 
eat their rice with mustard, and the disgust natural to one 
accustomed to the rigorous municipal regime of Paris, ex- 
pressed by Maurice Sand, at the exposure, for three days, 
of a dead horse in the streets of New York. Xavier Eyma's 
"Vie dans le Nouveau Monde" (Paris, 1861) is one of the 
most recent elaborate works, of which a judicious critical 
authority observes : 

«« He has given two goodly octavos to a solid criticism and descrip- 
tion of American * men and institations ; "* two more octavos to a his- 
tory of the States and Territories ; one volume to the * Black-Skins/ 


in which he sketches with admirahle fidelity the peculiarities and the 
iniquities of slave life in the South ; and one volume to the * Red- 
Skins,' in which he shows the Indian tribes as they are. Besides 
these, he has told of the islands of the West Indies, of their corsairs 
and buccaneers, and of the social life of the various classes in Amer- 
ica, native and immigrant, and has devoted one amusing volume to 
' American Eccentricities.' In such a mass of material there must of 
course be repetition ; nor are any of the views especially profound. 
M. Eyma is in no sense a philosopher. He loves story-telling better 
than disquisition, and arranges his materials rather for romantic effect 
than for scientific accuracy.'' 

Finally, we have the prolific emanationa of the Paris 
press on the war for the Union ; pamphlets evoked by venal- 
ity, abounding in sophistical arguments, gross misstatements, 
and prejudice ; editorials written in the interest of partisans, 
and a mass of crude and unauthentic writing destined to 
speedy oblivion. A valuable contribution to the national cause 
was made, of late, by our able and loyally assiduous consul 
at Paris,* in a volume of facts, economical, political, and' sci- 
entific, drawn from the latest and best authorities, published 
in the French language, and afibrding candid inquirers in 
Europe precisely the kind of information about America they 
need, to counteract the falsehood and malignity of the advo- 
cates of the slaveholders^ rebellion. Army critics and corre- 
spondents from Fmnce, some of them illustrious and others 
of ephemeral claims, have visited our shores, and reported 
the momentous crisis through which the nation is now pass- 
ing. The Prince de Joinville has given his experience and 
observation of the battles of the Chickahominy ; and several 
pleasant but superficial writers have described some of the 
curious phases of life which here caught their attention, dur- 
ing a hasty visit at this transition epoch. Apart from >dru- 
lent and mercenary writers, it is remarkable that the tone of 
French comment and criticism on the present rebellion in 
America has been far more intelligent, candid, and sympa- 
thetic than across the Channel. Eminent publicists and pro- 
fessors of France have recognized and vindicated the truth, 

* John Bigelow, Esq. 


and sent words of faith and cheer across the sea. In his leo- 
iorea, and extravagant but piquant and suggestive ^^^ Paris 
dans PAmerique," Laboulaye has signally promoted that bet- 
ter understanding and more just appreciation of the struggle, 
and the motives and end thereof, which now begin to pre- 
vail abroad. De Gkisparin's ^^ Uprising of a Great People ^ 
fen on American hearts, at the darkest hour of the strife^ 
like the clarion note of a reinforcement of the heroes of 
hmnanity. Cochin, Henri Martin, and others less eminent 
but equally honest and humane, have echoed the earnest pro- 
test and appeal ; which contrasts singularly with the indiffer- 
ence, disingenuousness, and perversity of so many distin- 
gnished writers and journals in England. Herein we per- 
ceive the same diversity of feeling which marks the earliest 
commentators of the respective nations on America, and the 
subsequent feelings manifested toward our prosperous repub- 
lic. Mrs. Eemble, in a recent article on the ^' Stage," ob- 
serves that the theatrical instinct of the Americans creates 
with them an affinity for the French, in which the English, 
bating exhibitions of emotion and self-display, do not share. 
With all due deference to her opinion, it seems to us her rea- 
soning is quite too limited. The affinity of which she speaks, 
partial as it is, is based on the more sympathetic temperament 
of these two races compared with the English. The social 
character, the more versatile experience of American life, 
assimilate it in a degree, and externally, with that of France, 
and the climate of America develops nervous sensibility; 
while the exigencies of life foster an adaptive facility, which 
brings the Anglo-American into more intelligent relations 
with the Gallic nature than is possible for a people so egotis- 
tic and stolid as the English to realize. But this partial sym- 
pathy does not altogether account for the French understand- 
ing America better : that is owing to a more liberal, a less 
prejudiced, a more chivalric spirit ; to quicker sympathies, to 
more scientific proclivities, to greater candor and humanity 
among her thinkers. They are far enough removed in life 
and character to catch the true moral perspective ; and they 


have few, if any, wounds of self-love to impede their sense 
of jaslice in regard to a country wherewith their own history- 
is often congenially and honorably associated. 

Yet anomalous and sad will it seem, in the retrospect, 
that to a nation alien in blood and language, we are indebted 
for the earliest and most kindly greeting in our hour of stem 
and sacrificial duty and of national sorrow, instead of receiv- 
ing it (with rare exceptions) from a people from whom we 
inherit laws, language, and literature, and to whom we are 
united by so many ties of lineage, culture, and material 

Humane, just, and authoritative, indeed, is the language 
of those eminent Frenchmen, Agenor de Gasparin, Augustin 
Cochin, Edouard Laboulaye, and Henri Martin, addressed to 
a committee of loyal Americans, in response to their grateful 
recognition of such distinguished advocacy of our national 
cause ; and we cannot better close this notice of French 
writera on America, than with their noble words : 

" Courage I Yon have before yon one of the most noble works, 
the most sablime which can be accomplished here below — a work in 
the success of which we are as interested as yonrselves — a work the 
success of which will be the honor and the consolation of onr time. 

*^ This generation will have seen nothing more grand than the 
abolition of slavery (in destroying it with yon, yon destroy it every- 
where), and the energetic uprising of a people which in the midst of 
its growing prosperity was visibly sinking under the weight of the 
tyranny of the South, the complicity of the North, odious laws and 

*^ Kow, at the cost of immense sacrifices, you have stood np against 
the evil ; you have chosen rather to pour out your blood and your 
dollars than to descend further the slope of degradation, where rich, 
united, powerful, you were sure to lose that which is far nobler than 
wealth, or union, or power. 

" Well, Europe begins to understand, willingly or unwillingly, 
what you have done. In France, in England, everywhere your cause 
gains groDnd, and be it said for the honor of the nineteenth century, 
the obstacle which our ill will and our evil passions could not over- 
come, the obstacle which the intrigues of the South could not sur- 
mount, is an idea, a principle. Uatred of slavery has been your cham- 
pion in the Old World. A poor champion seemingly. Laughed at, 


Boomed, it seems weak and lonely. Bat what matters it ; ere the 
aooonnt be dosed, principles will stand for something, and conscience, 
in all hmnan affairs, will have the laet word. 

^ This, gentlemen, is what we would say to yon in the name of all 
who with ns, and better than onrselves, defend your cause in Europe. 
Yonr words have cheered us ; may ours in turn cheer you I You 
have yet to cross many a dark valley. More than once the impossi- 
bility of snocess will be demonstrated to you ; more than once, in the 
fiftoe of some military check or political difficulty, the cry wiU be raised 
that all is lost. What matters it to you ? Strengthen your cause 
daOy by daily making it more just, and fear not ; there is a God 

" We love to contemplate in hope the noble future which seems 
to stretch itself before you. The day you emerge at last from the 
anguish of civil war — and you will surely come out freed from the 
odious institution which corrupted your public manners and degraded 
yonr domestic as well as your foreign policy — that day your whole 
country. South as well as North, and the South perhaps more fully 
than the North, will enter upon a wholly new prosperity. European 
emigration will hasten toward your ports, and will learn the road to 
those whom until now it has feared to approach. Oultivation, now 
abandoned, will renew its yield. Liberty — ^for these are her miracles 
— ^will revivify by her touch the soil which slavery had rendered 

^* Then there will be bom unto you a greatness nobler and more 
stable than the old, for in this greatness there will be no sacrifice of 



bbbkblet; MOfipABBAjr; mbs. obaht; bubhabt; bookbb; boxoe; 
DOUOLAB8; henbt; eddib; ahbubt; bmtthb. 

*^ Thebe * are more imposing moDmnents in the venerable 
precincts of Oxford, recalling the genius which hallows our 
ancestral literature, but at the tomb of Berkeley we linger 
with affectionate reverencQ, as we associate the gifts of his 
mind and the graces of his spirit with his disinterested and 
memorable visit to our country. 

In 1725, Berkeley published his proposals in explanation 
of this long-cherished purpose ; at the same time he offered 
to resign his livings, and to consecrate the remainder of his 
days to this Christian undertaking. So magnetic were his 
appeal and example, that three of his brother fellows at 
Oxford decided to unite with him in the expedition. Many 
eminent and wealthy persons were induced to contribute 
their influence and money to the cause. But he did not trust 
wholly to such means. Having ascertained the worth of a 
portion of the St. Christopher's lands, ceded by France to 
# Oreat Britain by the treaty of Utrecht, and about to be dis- 
posed of for public advantage, he undertook to realize from , 
them larger proceeds than had been anticipated, and sug- 

* From the author's *' Esflays, Biographical and CiiticaL'* 


gested that a certain amount of these funds should be de- 
YOted to his college. Availing himself of the friendly inter- 
vention of a y^etian gentleman whom he had known in 
Italj, he submitted the plan to George I., who directed Sir 
Robert Walpole to carry it through Parliament. He ob- 
tained a charter for ^ ereclnng a college, by name St. Paul's, 
in Bermuda, with a president and nine fellows, to maintain 
and educate Indian scholars, at the rate of ten pounds a year, 
George Berkeley to be the first president, and his companions 
frcmi Trinity College the fellows.' ffis commission was voted 
May 11 th, 1 726. To the promised amount of twenty thousand 
pounds, to be derived from the land sale, many sums were 
added from individual donation. The letters of Berkeley to 
his friends, at this period, are filled with the discussion of his 
scheme ; it absorbed his time, taxed his ingenuity, filled his 
heart, and drew forth the warm sympathy and earnest 
codperation of his many admirers, though regret at the pros- 
pect of losing his society constantly finds expression. Swift, 
in a note to the Lord Lieutenant of Lreland, says : * I do hum- 
bly entreat your excellency either to use such persuasions as 
win keep one of the first men of the kingdom for learning 
and genius at home, or assist him by your credit to compass 
his romantic design.' * I have obtained reports,' sayd one of 
his own letters, * from the Bishop of Loudon, the board of 
trade and plantations, and the attorney and solicitor-general;' 
* yesterday the charter passed the privy seal ; ' ' the lord chan- 
cellor is not a busier man than myself;' and elsewhere, ^I 
have had more opposition from the governors and traders to 
America than from any one else ; but, God be praised, there 
is an end of all their narrow and mercantile views and en- 
deavors, as well as of the jealousies and suspicions of others, 
some of whom were very great men, who apprehended this 
college may produce an independency in America, or at least 
lessen her dependency on England.' 

Freneau's ballad of the ' Indian Boy,' who ran back to 
the woods from the halls of learning, was written subse- 
quently, or it might luve ^couraged Berkeley in his idea of 


the capacity of the American sayages for education; but 
more positive obstacles thwarted his generous aims. The 
long died before affixing his seal to the charter, which de- 
layed the whole proceedings. Waipole, efficient as he was as 
a financier and a servant of the house of Brunswick, was a 
thorough utilitarian, and too practical and worldly wise to 
share in the disinterested enthiunasm of Berkeley. In his 
answer to Bishop Gibson, whose diocese included the West 
Indies, when he applied for the funds so long withheld, he 
says : ^ If you put the question to me as a minister, I must 
assure yoii that the money shall most undoubtedly be paid as 
soon as suits with public convenience ; but if you ask me as a 
friend whether Dean Berkeley should contmue in America, 
expecting the payment of twenty thousand pounds, I advise 
him by all means to return to Europe.' To the project, thus 
rendered unattainable, Berkeley had devoted seven years of 
his life, and the greater part of his fortune. The amount 
realized by the sale of confiscated lands was about ninety 
thousand pounds, of which eighty thousand were devoted to 
the marriage portion of the princess royal, about to espouse 
the Prince of Orange ; and the remainder, through the influ- 
ence of Oglethorpe, was secured to pay for the transporta- 
tion of emigrants to his Georgia colony. Berkeley's scheme 
was more deliberate and well-considered than is commonly 
believed. Horace Walpole calls it * uncertain and amusing ; ' 
but a writer of deeper sympathies declares it *' too grand and 
pure for the powers that were.' His nature craved the united 
opportunities of usefulness and of self-culture. He felt the 
obligation to devote himself to benevolent enterprise, and at 
the same time earnestly desired both the leisure and the re- 
tirement needful for the pursuit of abstract studies. The 
prospect he contemplated promised to realize all these 
objects. He possessed a heart to feel the infinite wants, 
intellectual and religious, of the new continent, and had the 
imagination to conceive the grand destinies awaiting its 
growth. Those who fancy that his views were limited to 
the plan of a doubtful missionary experiment, do great injus- 


tioe to the broad and elevated hopes he cherished. He knew 
that a recognized seat of learning open to the poor and nn- 
civilized, and the varied moral exigencies of a new country, 
would insure ample scope for the exercise of all his erudition 
and his talents. He felt that his mind would be a kingdom 
wherever hb lot was cast ; and he was inspired by a noble 
interest in the progress of America, and a faith in the new 
field there open for the advancement of truth, as is evident 
from the celebrated verses in which these feelings found ex- 
pression : 

* The Muse, disgusted at an age and clime 

Barren of every glorioas theme, 
In distant lands now waits a better time, 
Prodnoing subjects worthy fame. 

^ In happy climes, when from the genial son 

And virgin earth each scenes ensue, 
The force of art by nature seems outdone, 
And fancied beauties by the true ; 

' In happy climes, the seat of innocence. 

Where nature guides and virtue rules ; 
Where men shall not impose for truth and sense 
The pedantry of schools ; 

^ Then shall we see again the golden age. 

The rise of empire and of arts, 
The good and great inspiring epic rage. 
The wisest heads and noblest hearts ; 

* Not such as Europe breeds in her decay ; 

Such as she bred when fresh and young, 
When heavenly flame did animate her clay. 
By future poets shall be sung. 

* Westward the course of empire takes its way ; 

The four first acts already past, 
A fifth shall end the drama with the day ; 
Timers noblest ofispring is the last.^ 

In August, 1728, Berkeley married a daughter of the 
Honorable John Foster, speaker of the Irish House of Com- 


mons, and, soon after, embarked for America. Bib compan- 
ions were, his wife and her ftiend, Miss Hancock ; two gen- 
tlemen of fortune, James and Dalton; and Smibert the 
painter. In a picture hj the latter, now in the Trumbull 
gallery at New Haven, are preserved the portraits of this 
group, with that of the dean's infant son, Henry, in his 
mother's arms. It was painted for a gentleman of Boston^ 
of whom it was purchased, in 1808, by Isaac Lothrop, Esq., 
and presented to Yale College. This visit of Smibert asso- 
ciates Berkeley's name with the dawn of art in America. 
They had travelled together in Italy, and the dean induced 
him to join the expedition partly from friendship, and also to 
enlist his services as instructor in drawing and architecture, 
in the proposed college. Smibert was bom in Edinburgh, 
about the year 1684, and served an apprenticeship there to 
a house painter. He went to London, and, from painting 
coaches, rose to copying old pictures for the dealers. He 
then gave three years to the study of his art in Italy. 

' Smibert,' says Horace Walpole, * was a silent and mod- 
est man, who abhorred the Jlnesse of some of his profession, 
and was enchanted with a plan that he thought promised 
tranquillity and an honest subsistence in a healthy and elysian 
climate, and, in spite of remonstrances, engaged with the 
dean, whose zeal had ranged the favor of the court on his 
side. The king's death dispelled the vision. One may con- 
ceive how a man so devoted to his art must have been ani- 
mated, when the dean's enthusiasm and eloquence painted to 
his imagination a new theatre of prospects, rich, warm, and 
glowing with scenery which no pencil had yet made com- 
mon.' * 

Smibert was the first educated artist who visited our 
shores, and the picture referred to, the first of more than a 
single figure executed in the country. To his pencil New 
England is indebted for portraits of many of her early states- 
men and clergy. Among others, he pdnted for a Scotch 

• "< Aneodotes of Painting,*' toL iU. 


gentleman the only authentio likeness of Jonathan Edwards. 
He married a lady of fortune in Boston, and left her a widow 
with two children, in 1751. A high eulogium on his abilities 
and character appeared in the London Courant, From two 
letters addressed to him by Berkeley, when residing at 
Cloyne, published in the Oentleman^a Moffoziney it would 
appear that his friendship for the artist continued after their 
separation, as the bishop urges the painter to recross Hie sea 
and establish himself in his neighborhood. 

A considerable sum of money, and a large and choice 
collection of books, designed as a foundation for the library 
of St. PauPs College, were the most important items of the 
dean^s outfit In these days of rapid transit across the 
Atlantic, it is not easy to realize the discomforts and perils 
of such a voyage. Brave and philanthropic, indeed, must 
have been the heart of an English church dignitary, to whom 
the road of preferment was open, who was a favorite com- 
panion of the genial Steele, the classic Addison, and the bril- 
liant Pope, who basked in the smile of royalty, was beloved 
of the Church, revered by the poor, the idol of society, and 
the peer of scholars ; yet could shake off the allurements of 
such a position, to endure a tedious voyage, a long exile, and 
the deprivations attendant on a crude state of society and a 
new civilization, in order to achieve an object which, how- 
ever excellent and generous in itself, was of doubtful issue, 
and beset with obstacles. Confiding in the pledges of those 
in authority, that the parliamentary grant would be paid 
when the lands had been selected, and full of the most san- 
guine anticipations, the noble pioneer of religion and letters 
approached the shores of the New World. 

It seems doubtful to some of his biographers whether 
Berkeley designed to make a preliminary visit to Rhode 
Island, in order to purchase lands there, the income of which 
would sustain his Bermuda institution. The vicinity of that 
part of the New England coast to the West Indies may have 
induced such a course ; but it is declared by more than one, 
that his arrival at Newport was quite accidental. This con- 


jecture, however, is erroneous, as in one of his letters, dated 
September 5th, 1728, he says : ' To-morrow, with God's bless- 
ing, I set sail for Rhode Island.' The captain of the ship 
which conveyed him from England, it is said, was unable to 
discover the Island of Bermuda, and at length abandoned the 
attempt, and steered in a northerly direction. They made 
land which they could not identify, and supposed it inhabited 
only by Indians. It proved, however, to be Block Island, 
and two fishermen came off and informed them of the vicin- 
ity of Newport harbor. Under the pilotage of these men, 
the vessel, in consequence of an unfavorable wind^ entered 
what is called the West Passage, and anchored. The fisher- 
men were sent ashore with a letter from the dean to Rev. 
James Honyman. They landed at Canonicut Island, and 
sought the dwellings of two parishioners of that gentleman, 
who immediately conveyed the letter to their pastor. For 
nearly half a century this faithful clergyman had labored in 
that region. He first established himself at Newport, in 
1704. Besides the care of his own church, he made frequent 
visits to the neighboring towns on the mainland. In a letter 
to the secretary of the Episcopal mission in America, in 1709, 
he says : ' You can neither believe, nor I express, what excel- 
lent services for the cause of religion a bishop would do in 
these parts ; these infant settlements would become beautiful 
nurseries, which now seem to languish for want of a father 
to oversee and bless them ; ' and in a memorial to Governor 
Nicholson on the religious condition of Rhode Island, in 
1714, he observes : ' The people are divided among Quakers, 
Anabaptists, Independents, Gortonians, and infidels, with a 
i^mnant of true Churchmen.' * It is characteristic of the 
times and region, that with a broad circuit and isolated 
churches as the sphere of his labors, the vicinity of Indians, 
and the variety of sects, he was employed for two months, in 
1723, in daily attending a large number of pirates who had 

* Hawkins's ** Historical Notices of the Missions of the Church of Eng^md 
in the North American Colonies,*' p. 178. 


been captured, and were subsequentlj execated — one of the 
morderons bands which t^en infested the coast, whose extra- 
ordinary career has been illustrated by Cooper, in one of his 
popular nautical romances. 

When Berkeley's missive reached this worthy pastor, 
he was in his pulpit, it being a holiday. He immediately 
read the letter to his congregation, and dismissed them. 
Nearly all accompanied him to the ferry wharf, which they 
reached but a few moments before the arrival of the dean 
and his fellow voyagers. A letter from Newport, dated 
January 24th, 1729, that appeared in the New JEngUmd 
Jowmali published at Boston, thus notices the event : ^ Yes- 
terday arrived here Dean Berkeley, of LondondeiTy, in a 
pretty large sh%>. He is a gentleman of middle stature, and 
of an agreeable, pleasant, and erect aspect. He was ushered 
into the town by a great number of gentlemen, to whom he 
behaved himself after a very complaisant manner. Tis said 
he purposes to tarry here about three months.' 

We can easily imagine the delightful surprise which 
Berkeley acknowledges at first view of that lovely bay and 
the adjacent country. The water tinted, in the clear autumn 
air, like the Mediterranean ; the fields adorned- with symmet- 
rical haystacks and golden maize, and bounded by a lucid 
horizon, against which rose picturesque windmills and the 
clustered dwellings of the town, and the noble trees which 
theii covered the island; the bracing yet tempered atmos- 
phere, all greeted the senses of those weary voyagers, and 
kindled the grateful admiration of their romantic leader. 
He soon resolved upon a longer sojourn, and purchased a 
farm of a hundred acres at the foot of the hill whereon 
stood the dwelling of Honyman, and which still bears his 

There he erected a modest homestead, with philosophic 
taste choosing the valley, in order to enjoy the fine view from 

• The conTcyance from Joseph Whipple and wife to Berkeley, of the land 
in Newport, is dated February 18th, 1729. 


the summit occasionallj, rather than lose its oharm hj 
familiarity. At a sufficient distance from the town to insnre 
inmmnity from idle visitors ; within a few minutes' walk of 
.the sea, and girdled by a fertile vale, the student, dreamer, 
and missionary pitched his humble tent where nature offered 
her boundless refreshment, and seclusion her contemplative 
peace. His first vivid impressions of the situation, and of 
the difficulties and consolations of his position, are described 
in the few letters, dated at Newport, which his biographer 
cites. At this distance of time, and in view of the subse- 
quent changes of that region, it is both curious and interest- 
ing to revert to these incidental data of Berkeley's visit. 

* Nbwpobt, nr Rbodb Islasd, April 24, 17S0. 

* I can by this time say something to yon, from my own expe- 
rience, of this place and its people. The inhabitants are of a mixed 
kind, consisting of many sects and sabdivisions of sects. Here are 
four sorts of Anabaptists, besides Presbyterians, Quakers, Indepen- 
dents, and many of no profession at all. Notwithstanding so many 
differences, here are fewer quarrels about religion than elsewhere, 
the people living peacefully with their neighbors, of whatever per- 
suasion. They all agree in one point — ^that the Ohurch of England 
is the second best. The climate is like that of Italy, and not at all 
colder in the winter than I have known everywhere north of Borne. 
The spring is late, but, to make amends, they assure me the au- 
tunms are the finest and the longest in the world ; and the sum- 
mers are much pleasanter than those of Italy by all accounts, foras- 
much as the grass continues green, which it does not there. This 
island is pleasantly laid out in hills and vales and rising ground, hath 
plenty of excellent springs and fine rivulets, and many delightful 
rocks, and promontories, and adjacent lands. The provisions are 
very good ; so are the fruits, which are quite neglected, though vines 
sprout of themselves of an extraordinary size, and seem as natural 
to this soil as any I ever saw. The town of Newport contains about 
six thousand souls, and b the most thriving place in all America for 
its bigness. I was never more agreeably surprised than at the first 
sight of the town and its harhor/ 

* Juns 12, 1729.— I find it hath been reported in Ireland that 
we intend settling here. I must desire you to discountenance any 
such report. The truth is, if the king's bounty were paid in, and the 
charter could be removed hither, I should like it better than Ber- 


mada. Bat if this were qnostioned before the paymeDt of said 
monej, it might perhaps hinder it and defeat all oar designs. I 
snatoh this moment to write, and have time onl/Nto add that I have 
got a son, who, I thank €k)d, is likely to live.^ 

' May 7. — This week I received a package from yoa via Phila- 
delphia, the postage of which amoanted to above foar poands ster- 
ling of this coantrjr money. I am worried to death by creditors, an(^ 
am at an eod of patience, and almost out of my wits. Oar little son 
is a great joy to as : we are sach fools as to think him the most per- 
fect thing of the kind we ever saw.^ 

To the poet, scenery of picturesque beauty and grand- 
eur is desirable, but to the philosopher general effects are 
more oongeniaL High mountains, forests, and waterfalls 
^peal more emphatically to the former, and luxuries of cli- 
mate and atmosphere to the latter. Accordingly, the soft 
marine air and the beautiful skies of summer and autumn, in 
the region of Berkeley's American home, with the vicinity 
of the seacoast, became to him a perpetual delight. He 
alludes, with grateful sensibility, to the ^ pleasant fields,' and 
^ walks on the beach,' to ^ the expanse of ocean studded with 
fishing boats and lighters,' and the ^ plane trees,' that daily 
cheered his sight, as awakening ^ that sort of joyful instinct 
which a rutal scene and fine weather inspire.' He calls New- 
port * the Montpelier of America,' and appears to have com- 
muned with nature and inhaled the salubrious breeze, while 
porsuing his meditations, with all the zest of a healthy 
organization and a susceptible and observant mind. A few 
ravines finely wooded, and with fresh streams purling over 
rocky beds, vary the alternate uplands ; from elevated points 
a charming distribution of water enlivens the prospect ; and 
the shore is indented with high cliffs, or rounded into grace- 
ful curves. The sunsets are remarkable for a display of gor- 
geous and radiant clouds ; the wide sweep of pasture is only 
broken by low ranges of stone wall, clumps of sycamores, 
orchards, haystacks, and mill towers ; and over luxuriant clo- 
ver beds, tasselled maize, or fallow acres, plays, for two thirds 
of the year, a southwestern breeze, chastened and moistened 
b7 the Gulf Stream. 


Intercourse with Boston was then the chief means on 
the island of acquiring political and domestic news. A brisk 
trade was carried on between the town and the West Indies, 
France, England, and the Low Countries, curious memorials 
of which are still visible, in some of the old mansions, in the 
shape of china and glass ware, of obsolete patterns, and faded 
specimens of rich brocade. A sturdy breed of Narraganset 
ponies carried fair equestrians from one to another of the 
many hospitable dwellings scattered over the fields, on which 
browsed sheep and cackled geese, still famous in epicurean 
reminiscence ; while tropical fruits were constantly imported, 
and an abundance and variety of fish and fowl rewarded the 
most careless sportsman. Thus blessed by nature, the acci- 
dental home of the philosophic dean soon won his affection. 
Intelligent members of all denominations united in admira- 
tion of his society and attendance upon his preaching. With 
one neighbor he dined every Sunday, to the child of another 
he became godfather, and with a third took counsel for the 
establishment of the literary club which founded the Red- 
wood Library. It was usual then to see the broad brim of 
the Quakers in the aisles of Trinity Church ; and, as an in- 
stance of his emphatic yet tolerant style, it is related that he 
once observed, in a sermon, * Give the devil his due : John 
Calvin was a great man.'* We find him, at one time, writing 
a letter of encouragement to a Huguenot preacher of Provi- 
dence, and, at another, visiting Narraganset with Smibert to 
examine the abori^al inhabitants. His own opinion of the 
race was given in the discourse on * The Propagation of the 
Gospel in Foreign Parts,' delivered in London on his return. 
To the ethnologist it may be interesting, in reference to this 
subject, to revert to the anecdote of the portrait painter cited 
by Dr. Barton. He had been employed by the Grand Duke 
of Tuscany to paint two or three Siberian Tartars, presented 
to that prince by the Czar of Russia ; and, on first landing in 
Narraganset with Berkeley, he instantly recognized the In- 

• Updike^s '* HiBtory of the Namganset Chnroh." 


dians there as the same race as the Siberian Tartars — an opin- 
ion confirmed by Wolff, the celebrated Eastern traveller. 

Daring his residence at Newport, Berkeley became ac- 
quainted with the Rev. Jared Elliot, one of the trustees of 
Yale College, and with the Rev. Samuel Johnson, an Episco- 
pal minister of Stratford, Conn., who informed him of the 
condition, prospects, and wants of that institution. He after- 
ward opened a correspondenqe on the subject with Rector 
Williams, and was thus led, after the failure of his own col- 
lege scheme, to make his generous donations to a seminary 
already established. He had previously presented the col- 
lege with a copy of his writings. In 1732, he sent from 
England a deed of his farm in Rhode Island, and, the con- 
ditions and descriptions not being satisfactory, he sent, the 
ensuing year, another deed, by which it was provided that 
the rents of his lands should be devoted to the education of 
three young men, the best classical scholars ; the candidates 
to be examined annually, on the 6th of May ; in case of dis- 
agreement among the examiners, the competitors to decide 
by lot ; and all surplus funds to be used for the purchase of 
classical books. Berkeley also gave to the library a thousand 
Tolumes, which cost over four hundred pounds — the most 
valuable collection of books then brought together in Amer- 
ica. They were chiefly his own purchase, but in part con- 
tributed by his friends. One of the graduates of Yale, edu* 
cated under the Berkeley scholarship, was Dr. iBuckminster, 
of Portsmouth, N. H. Unfortunately, the income of the 
property at Newport is rendered much less than it might be 
by the terms of a long lease. This liberality of the Bishop 
of Cloyne was enhanced by the absence of sectarian preju- 
dice in his choice for the stewardship of his bounty of a col- 
legiate institution where different tenets are inculcated from 
those he professed. That he was personally desirous of in- 
creasing his own denomination in America, is sufficiently 
evinced by the letter in which he directs the secretary of the 
Episcopal mission there to appropriate a balance originally 
contributed to the Bermuda scheme. This sum had remained 


at his banker's for many years unclaimed, and he suggests 
that part of it riioald be devoted to a gifk of books for Har- 
vard University, ' as a proper means to inform their judg- 
ment, and dispose them to think better of onr church.' His 
interest in classical education on this side of the water is also 
manifested in a letter advocating the preeminence of those 
studies in Columbia College.* 

It is a remarkable coincidence that Berkeley should have 
taken up his abode in Rhode Island, and thus completed the 
representative character of the most tolerant religious com- 
munity in New England, by the presence of an eminent Epis- 
copal dignitary. A principal reason of the variety, the free- 
dom, and the peace of religions opinion there, to which he 
alludes, is the fact that, through the libei'al wisdom and fore- 
sight of Roger Williams, that State had become an asylum 
for the persecuted of all denominations from the neighboring 
provinces ; but another cause may be found in the prevalence 
of the Quakers, whose amiable tenets and gentle spirit sub- 
dued the rancor and bigotry of fanaticism. Several hundred 
Jews, still conunemorated by their cemetery and synagogue, 
allured by the prosperous trade and the tolerant genius of 
the place, added still another feature to the varied popula- 
tion. The lenity of Penn toward the aborigines, and the 
fame of Fox, had given dignity to the denomination of 
Friends, and their domestic culture was refined as well as 
morally sui^erior. Enterprise in the men who, in a neighbor- 
ing State, originated the whale fishery, an^ beauty among the 
women of that sect, are traditional in Rhode Island. We 
were reminded of Berkeley's observations in regard to the 
natural productions of the country, during a recent visit to 
the old farmhouse where he resided. An enormous wild 
grapevine had completely veiled what formed the original 

* « I am glad to find a spirit toward learning prevails in these parts, par- 
ticularly in New York, where, you say, a college is projected, which has my 
best wishes. Let the Greek and Latin classics be well taught ; be this tlM 
first care as to learning."— Bxrcklxt*s Letter to Johmon, — ^KooRi's 8ke(dk pf 
Columbia CoUege, NewYork^ 1846. 


cntnoioe to the hnmble dwelling ; and several anoient apple 
trees in the orchard, with bonghs mossy with time, and 
gnarled by the ocean gales, showed, in their s{>arse fruit and 
matted twigs, the utter absence of the pruning knife. The 
dwelling itself is built, after the manner common to farm- 
honseis a century ago, entirely of wood, with low ceilings, 
broad fireplace, and red cornice. The only traces of the old 
country were a few remaining tiles, with obsolete designs, 
around the chinmey piece. Bat the deep and crystal azure 
of the sea gleamed beyond com field and sloping pasture ; 
sheep grazed in the meadows, hoary rocks bounded the pros- 
pect, and the mellow crimson of sunset lay warm on grass 
slope and paddock, as when the kindly philosopher mused by 
the shore with Plato in hand, or noted a metaphysical dia- 
logue in the quiet and ungamished room which overlooks the 
rude garden. Though, as he declares, ' for every private rea^ 
son' he preferred ' Derry to New England,' pleasant was the 
abode, and grateful is the memory of Berkeley, in this rural 
seclusion. A succession of green breastworks along the brow 
of the hill beneath which his domicile nestles, by reminding 
the visitor of the retreat of the American forces under Gen- 
end Sullivan, brings vividly to his mind the Revolution, and 
its incalculable influence upon the destinies of a land which 
so early won the intelligent sympathy of Berkeley; while 
the name of Whitehall, which he gave to this peaceful do- 
main, commemorates that other revolution in his own coun- 
try, wherein the loyalty of his grandfather drove his family 
into exQe. But historical soon yield to personal recollections, 
when we consider the memorials of his sojourn. We asso- 
ciate this landscape with his studies and his benevolence; 
and, when the scene was no longer blessed with his presence, 
his gifts remained to consecrate his memory. In old Trinity, 
the organ he bestowed peals over the grave of his firstborn 
in the adjoining burial ground. A town in Massachusetts 
bears his name. Not long since, a presentation copy of his 
*' Minute Philosopher ' was kept on the table of an old lady 
of Newport, with reverential care. In one family, his gift 


of a richly wrought silver coffee pot, and, in another, that of 
a diamond ring, are cherished heirlooms. His rare and costly 
books were distributed- ^t his departure, among the i*esident 
dergy. His scholarship at ^Tew Haven annually furnishes 
recruits to our church, bar, or medical faculty. In an adja- 
cent parish, the sacramental cup was his donative. His leg- 
acy of ingenious thoughts and benign sentiment is associated 
with hanging rocks that are the seaward boundary of his 
farm; his Christian ministry with the ancient church, and 
his verse with the progress of America." 

A brave clerical resident of South Kingston, R. I., where 
he died in 1757, wrote a brief but useful and interesting 
account of the English settlements in America. He de- 
scribes, in a series of lettep, the Bermudas, Georgia, and the 
northern dominions of the crown as far as Newfoundland. 
As one of the founders of the Episcopal Church in America, 
an intimate friend of Berkeley, and a respected and efficient 
minister of Narraganset, the Rev. James McSparren's " His- 
torical Tract " has a special authority and attraction. 

One of the most pleasing and naive memorials of social 
life in the province of New York in her palmy colonial days, is 
to be found in the reminiscences of Mrs. Grant, a daughter of 
Duncan McVickar, an officer of the British army, who came 
to America on duty in 1757. This estimable lady, in the 
freshness of her youth, resided in Albany, and was intimate 
with Madam Schuyler, widow of Colonel Philip Schuyler, and 
aunt to the general of the same name so prominent in the 
war of the Revolution. The four years which Mrs, Grant 
passed in America, made an indelible and charming impres- 
sion on her mind. She married the Rev. JaiAes Grant, of 
Laggan, Invcmesshire, and, in 1801, was left a widow with 
eight children. Nine years after, she removed to Edinburgh, 
where she became the centre of a literary and friendly circle, 
often graced by the presence of Sir Walter Scott and other 
celebrities. He secured her a pension of a hundred pounds. 
Mrs. Grant's conversation was of unusual interest, owing to 
her long experience, and, for that period, varied reading. 


She was ambitious of literary distinction. Her "Letters 
from the Monntains," for their descriptive ability and inde- 
pendent tone, won no inconsiderable popularity. Jeffrey re- 
marks that her " poetry is not very good ; " while Moir pays 
her the somewhat equivocal compliment of declaring that she 
** respectably assisted in sustaining the honors of the Scottish 
Muse.^' But sne is chiefly remembered as a writer by her 
** Memoirs,'^ and they have served many novelists, historians, 
and biographers as a little treasury of facts wherewith to 
delineate the life and the scenery of those days, not else- 
where obtainable. Notwithstanding his moderate estimate 
of her other literary efforts, JeflQrey gave Mrs. Grant credit, 
in the Edinburgh Beviewy for this autobiography, as " a very 
animated picture of that sort of simple, tranquil, patriarchal 
life, which was common enough within these hundred years 
in the central parts of England, but of which we are rather 
inclined to think there is no specimen left in the world." It 
was not, however, merely the reproduction of this attractive 
and primitive kind of life that lent a charm to these Me- 
moirs. Many of the features of that Albany community, its 
habits, exigencies, and aspects, were novel and curious ; and 
the lively record thereof from the vivid impressions of such 
a woman, at her susceptible age, gives us a remarkably clear 
though perhaps somewhat romantic idea of what the mano- 
rial and colonial life of the State of New York was, and 
wherein it differed from that of Virginia and New England. 

In her day, the amiable and intelligent author of the 
"Memoirs of an American Lady" enjoyed no little social 
consideration from her literary efforts — ^unusual as such a dis- 
tinction was with her sex at that period — ^and from her kindly 
and dignified character. De Quincey, when quite a youth, 
met her in a stage coach, and cherished very agreeable recol- 
lections of her manners. "I retain the impression," he 
writes, " of the benignity which she, an established wit, and 
just then receiving incense from all quarters, showed, in her 
manners, to me, a person utterly unknown." 


According to Mrs. Grant, 

^ The summer amnBements of the young were simple, healthfhl, 
and jojoos. Their principal pleasure consisted in what we now call 
picnics, eDJojed either upon the beautiful islands in the river near 
Albany, which were then covered with grass and shrubbery, tall 
trees and clustering vines, or in the forests on the hills. When the 
warm days of spring and early summer appeared^ a company of 
young men and maidens would set out at sunrise in a canoe for the 
islands, or in light wagons for ' the bush,* where they would fre- 
quently meet a similar party on the same delightful errand. Each 
maiden, taught from early childhood to be industrious, would take 
her work basket with her, and a supply of tea, sugar, coffee, and 
other materials for a fhigal breakfast, while the young men carried 
some rum and dried fruit to make a light, cool punch for a midday 
beverage. But no previous preparations were made for dinner, ex- 
cept bread and cold pastry, it being expected that the young men 
would bring an ample supply of game and fish from the woods and 
the waters, provision having been made by the girls of apparatus for 
cooking, the use of which was familiar to them all. After dinner, 
the company would pair off in couples, according to attachments and 
affinities, sometimes brothers and sisters together, and sometimes 
warm friends or ardent lovers, and stroll in all directions, gathering 
wild strawberries or other fruit in sununer, and plucking the abun- 
dant flowers, to be arranged into bouquets to adorn their little par- 
lors and give much pleasure to their parents. Sometimes they would 
remain abroad until sunset, and take tea in the open air ; or they 
would call upon some friend on their way home, and partake of a 
light evening meal. In all this there appeared no conventional re- 
straints upon the innocent inclinations of nature. The day was 
always remembered as one of pure ei^oyment, without the passage 
of a single cloud of regret.^' 

In 1769-'60, a kindly and cultivated minister of the 
Chnrch of England made a tour of intelligent observation in 
the Middle States ; and fifteen years after, when the aliena- 
tion of the colonics from Great Britain had passed from a 
speculative to a practical fact, this amiable divine gave to the 
public the narrative of his Amerian journey. There is a 
pleasant tone, a wise and educated spirit in this record, which 
make ample amends for the obvious influences of the writer's 
religious and political \iews upon his impressions of the coun- 


try and the people. The Rev. Andrew Bumaby was a native of 
Lancastershire, an ilh^e of Westminster School, and a graduate 
of Qaeen's College, Cambridge. He became vicar of Green 
wich in 1769, and obtained credit as an author by a volume 
of sermons, and an account of a visit to Corsica. His book 
on America was ^' |lraised and valued '' as a fair and agree- 
able report of '^ the state of the colonies " then called the 
<< Middle Settlements." The author states, in his preface, 
that its appearance during ^^ the present difficulties " may ex- 
pcMK him to misrepresentation ; but he asserts the candor of 
his motives, and frankly declares that, while his '' first attach- 
ment ^ is for his native country, his second is to America. 

Bumaby landed from Chesapeake Bay, and his book (a 
thin quarto) opens with a description of Virginia, where he 
sojourned with Colonel Washington. He is struck with the 
efficiency of lightning rods, and the efficacy of snakeroot, and 
with the abundance of peaches, which are given a^ food to 
the hogs. He describes the vai*iety of squirrels, the indige- 
nous plants and birds, the ores and crops of the Old Domin- 
ion. The women there, he says, '^ are immoderately fond of 
dancing, and seldom read or endeavor to improve their 
minds." He notes the " prodigious tracts of land " belong- 
ing to individuals, and then a wilderness, and, like so many 
other travellers there, is impressed with the comparative im- 
provident habits of the people. " The Virginians," he says, 
^ are content to live from hand to mouth. Tobacco is their 
chief Btxpiej and they cultivate enough to pay their mer- 
chants in London for supplying those wants which their plan- 
tations do not directly satisfy." On the other hand, he cele- 
brates the virtuous contentment of the German settlers on 
the low grounds of the Shenandoah. Their freedom, tran- 
quillity, and " few vices " atone, in his estimation, for the 
absence of elegance. He attended a theatre in a ^^ tobacco 
house" at Marlborough, and enjoyed a sixteen hours' sail 
along the Chesapeake to Frederickstown. "Never," he 
writes, " in my life, have I spent a day more agreeably or 
with higher entertainment." Much of this zest is to be 


ascribed to the good clergjinaii^s enjoyment of scenery, fresh 
air, and fine weather. The streams, the woods, and the 
momitams of the New World elicit his constant admiration* 
A salient trait of his journal is the positive character he con- 
fidently assigns to the inhabitants of the difierent colonies. 
Sometimes it is evident that their resj[>ective religions and 
political tendencies enlist or repel his sympathies, and there- 
fore modify his judgment, but, at other times, his opinion 
seems to be the result of candid observation ; and it is inter- 
esting to compare what he says on this subject, with later 
estimates and present local reputations. Of Philadelphia he 
remarks: ^' There is a public market held twice a week, 
almost equal to Leadenhall. The people there are quiet, 
and intent on money getting, and the women are decidedly 
handsome." He notes the shocking manufacture of the Ger- 
mans, and the linen made by the Irish in Pennsylvania. He 
thinks the New Jersey people " of a more liberal turn than 
these neighbors of theirs," and is enthusiastic about the Falls 
of the Passaic. He recognizes but two churches in New 
York — ^Trinity and St. Cteorge's — ^and declares the women 
there " more reserved " than those of the colony of Penn. 
He speaks of a memorable social custom of New York — 
" turtle feasts," held at houses on the East River, where, also, 
ladies and gentlemen, to the number of thirty or forty, were 
in the habit of meeting " to drink tea in the afternoon," and 
return to town " in Italian chaises," one gentleman and one 
lady in each. The good doctor evidently is charmed with 
these snug arrangements for a legitimate tite-d4ite, and men- 
tions, in connection therewith, a practice not accordant with 
the greater reserve he elsewhere attributes to the New York 
belles. "In the way" (from these turtle feasts and tea 
drinkmgs), " about three miles from New York, there is a 
bridge, which you pass over as you return, called the Kissing 
Bridge, where it is part of the etiquette to salute the lady 
who has put herself under your protection." 

I^e most Englishmen, Bumaby finds a rare combination 
of scenery, climate, and resources on Long Island, and makes 


especdal mentioD of one feature. '' About sixteen miles from 
the west end of it there opens a large plain, between twenty 
and thirty miles long and four or five miles broad. There is 
not a tree growing upon it, and it is asserted there never was. 
Strangers are always carried to see this plain, as a great curi- 
osity, and the only one of the kind in North America.'' 
What would he have thought of a Western prairie ? 

He is reminded in Hellgate of Scylla and Charybdis ; and 
the aspect and climate of Newport, R. L, charm him. 
** There is a public library here," he writes, "built in the 
form of a Grecian temple, and by no means inelegant." The 
Qnakers, the Jews, and the fortified islands are duly noted ; 
but the multiplicity of sects in the Providence Plantations 
evidently does not conciliate the doctor's favorable opinion. 
He speaks of the buttonwood trees, then so numerous and 
flourishing on the island ; " spruce pines," and the beer made 
from their " tender twigs ; " of the abundant and excellent 
&h, and hardy sheep, as well as of the superior butter and 
cheese. Of Newport commerce then, he says: "They im- 
port from Holland, money ; from Great Britain, drygoods ; 
from Africa, slaves ; from the West Indies, sugar, coffee, and 
molasses; and from the neighboring colonies, lumber and 
provisions." Of manufactures he observes, "they distil 
rum, and make spermaceti candles." The people of Rhode 
Island, he declares, " are cunning, deceitful, and selfish, and 
live by unfair and illicit trading. The magistrates are partial 
and corrupt, and wink at abuses." Ail this he ascribes to 
their form of government ; for " men in power entirely de- 
pend on the people, and it has happened more than once that 
a person has had influence to procure a fresh emission of 
paper money solely to defraud his creditors." It is obvious 
that the Churchman leans toward the Proprietary form of 
rule then existent in Maryland, and the manorial state of 
society farther south ; but he concludes his severe criticism 
of the Rhode Islanders with a candid qualification : " I have 
said so much to the disadvantage of this colony, that I should 
be guilty of great injustice were I not to declare that there 


are many worthy gendemen in it.'' Although forty years 
had elapsed since the benevolent and ingenious Bishop of 
Cloyne had left Newport, the beneficent traces of his pres- 
ence and the anecdotical traditions of his character still pre- 
yailed among the people. Bomaby thus alludes to the 
subject: ^^ About three miles from town is an indifferent 
wooden house, built by Dean Berkeley when he was in these 
parts. The situation is low, but commands a fine yiew of 
the ocean, and of some wild, rugged rocks that are on the 
left hand of it. They relate here several strange stories of 
the dean's wild and chimerical notions, which, as they are 
characteristic of that extraordinary man, deserve to be taken 
notice of. One in particular I must beg the reader's indul- 
gence to allow me to repeat to him. The dean had formed 
the plan of building a town upon the rocks which I have 
just taken note of, and of cuttmg a road through a sandy 
beach which lies a little below it, in order that ships might 
come up and be sheltered in bad weather. He was so full 
of this project, as one day to say to Smibert, a designer 
whom he had brought over with him from Europe, on the 
latter's asking him some ludicrous question concerning the 
future importance of the place, ' Truly you have little fore- 
sight ; for, in fifty years, every foot of land in this place will 
be as valuable as land in Cheapside.' The dean's house," 
continues Bumaby, ^^notwithstanding hb prediction, is at 
present nothing more than a farmhouse, and his library is 
converted into a dairy. When he left America, he gave it to 
the college in New Haven, Connecticut, which have let it to a 
family on a long lease. His books he divided between this 
college and that of Massachusetts. The dean is said to have 
written the ' Minute Philosopher ' in this place." 

Conservative Dr. Bumaby was not so perspicacious as he 
thought, when he thus reasoned of Berkeley's views of the 
growth in value of the region he loved. However mistaken 
as regards the specific locality" and period, he was essentially 
right as to the spirit of his prophecy — as the price of de- 
sirable '^ lots " and the value of landed property in Newport 


now evidenoe. Herein, as in that more oomprehensive predic- 
tion which foretold the westward course of empire, the good 
and gifled dean exhibited the prescience of a benignant genius. 
Bnmaby, like countless other visitors, was delighted with 
the country around Boston. He notes the two ^^ batteries of 
sixteen and twenty guns built by Mr. Shirley," and is struck, 
in 1770 — as was Dickens, eighty years after — with the resem- 
blance between the New England capital and the '^ best cx)Uli- 
try towns in England." Indeed, natives of the former recog- 
nize in Worcester, Eng., many of the familiar local traits of 
Boston, XJ. S. Our clerical traveller has an eye for the pic- 
toresque, and expatiates on the " unsurpassed prospect " from 
Beacon Hill. He thus enumerates the public edifices then 
there: "The Governor's palace, fourteen meeting houses, 
the Court House, Faneuil's Hall, the linen manufactory, the 
workhouse, the Bridewell, the public granary, and a very 
fine wharf at least a mile long." In architecture he gives the 
palm to King's Chapel, but significantly records the building 
of an Episcopal church near the neighboring university, 
that was long a beautiful exception to the "wooden lan- 
terns ** which constituted, in colonial times, the shrines of 
New England faith. " A church has been lately erected at 
Cambridge, within sight of the college, which has greatly 
alarmed the Congregationalists, who consider it the most 
&tal stroke that could possibly be levelled at their religion* 
The building is elegant, and the minister of it — the Rev. Mr. 
Apthorp — is a very amiable young gentleman, of shining 
puts, great learning, and engaging manners." Well consid- 
ered, the details of this statement singularly illustrate the 
ecclesiastical prestige and prejudice of the day. Bumaby 
recognizes quite a difierent style of manners and mode of 
action in the Puritan metropolis frotn those which character- 
ized the Cavalier, the Quaker, or the Dutch colony before 
visited. " The character of this province is much improved 
m comparison with what it was ; but Puritanism and a spirit 
of persecution are not yet totally extinguished. The gentry 
of both sexes are hospitable and good-natured : there is an 


air of civility in their behavior, but it is constrained by for- 
mality and preciseness. Even the women, though easiness of 
carriage is peculiarly characteristic of their nature, appear 
here with more stifOiess and reserve than in the other colo- 
nies. They are formed with symmetry, are handsome, and 
have fair and delicate complexions, but are said universally, 
and even proverbially, to have very indifferent teeth. The 
lower orders are impertinently curious and inquisitive." He 
records some singular, obsolete, and scarcely credible cus- 
toms, which, with other of his observations, are confirmed by 
Anbury, and other writers, who visited New England a few 
years later. The strict if not superstitious observance of the 
Sabbath in New England has been often made the theme of 
foreign visitors ; but Bumaby gives us a curious illustration 
both of the custom and its results. He says that a captain 
of a merchant vessel, having reached the wharf at Boston on 
Sunday, was there met and affectionately greeted by his 
wife; which human behavior, on Sunday, so outraged the 
''moral sense of the conmiunity," that the captain was 
arrested, tried, and publicly whipped for the offence. Ap- 
parently acquiescing in the justice of his punighment, he con- 
tinued on pleasant terms with his numerous* acquaintances 
after its infliction, and, when quite prepared to sail, invited 
them to a fkie on board ; and, when they were cheerfully 
taking leave, had the whole party seized, stripped to the 
waist, and forty lashes bestowed on each by the boatswain's 
cat-o'-nine-tails, amid the acclamations of his crew; after 
which summary act of retaliation he dismissed his smarting 
guests, and instantly set sail. 

At the close of his book,* the Rev. Andrew Bumaby, 
D. D., Vicar of Greenwich, expresses some general opinions 
in regard to the colonies, which are noteworthy as the honest 
impressions of a candid scholar and amiable divine, received 
nearly a century ago, while traversing a region wherein an 
unparalleled development, social, political, and economical, 

* ** TraTelfl through the Middle SetUements of North America, 1759-*60,'* 
4ta, London, 1775. 


has Bince occurred. '* America," he declares, ^^ is formed for 
happiaess, but not for empire." The average prosperity of 
the people made a deep impression. '^ In a course of twelve 
hundred miles," he writes, '^ I did not see a single object that 
solicited charity." He was convinced that the latent ele- 
ments of discord and division already existed. '^ Our colo- 
nies," he remarks, '^ may be dbtinguished into Southern and 
Northern, separated by the Susquehanna and that imaginary 
line which divides Maryland from Pennsylvania. The South- 
em colonies have so many inherent causes of weakness, that 
they never can possess any real strength. The climate oper- 
ates very powerfully upon them, and renders them indolent, 
inactive, and unenterprising. I myself have been a spectator 
of a man, in the vigor of life, lying upon a couch, and a 
female slave standing over him, wafting off the flies, and fan- 
ning him. These Southern colonies will never be thickly 
settled, except Maryland. Industrial occupation militates 
with their position, being considered as tlie inheritance and 
badge of slavery." The worthy author also seriously doubts 
if ^^ it will be possible to keep in due order and government 
so wide and extended an empire." He dwells upon the 
" difliculties of intercourse, communication, and correspond- 
ence." He thinks " a voluntary coalition almost diflficult to 
be supposed." " Fire and water," he declares, " are not more 
heterogeneous than the different colonies of America." It is 
curious to note wherein these diversities were then thought 
to lie. Dr. Bumaby tells us that Pennsylvania and New 
York were mutually jealous of the trade of New Jersey ; 
that Massachusetts and Rhode Island were equally conten- 
tious for that of Connecticut; that the commerce of the 
West Indies was " a common subject of emulation," and that 
the " bounds of each colony were a constant source of litiga- 
tion." He expatiates upon the inherent differences of man- 
ners, religion, character, and interests, as an adequate cause 
of civil war, if the colonies were left to themselves ; in which 
case he predicts that both the Indian and the negro race 
would '^ watch their chance to exterminate all." Against ex- 


temal foes be is of opinion that maritime power is the 
exclasive avaiLihle defence. "Suppose,*' he writes, "them 
(the colonies) capable of maintaining one hundred thousand 
men constantly in arms (a supposition in the highest degree 
extravagant), half a dozen frigates could ravage the whole 
country ; " for it is " so intersected with rivers of such mag- 
nitude as to render it impossible to build bridges over them, 
and all communication is thus cut off." The greater part of 
America's wealth, when Bumaby wrote, according, to his 
observations, "depended upon the fisheries, and commerce 
with the West Indies." He considered England's best policy 
" to enlarge the present, not to make new colonies ; for, to 
suppose interior colonies to be of use to the mother country 
. by being a check upon those already settled, is to suppose 
what is contrary to experience — ^that men removed beyond 
the reach of power, will be subordinate to it." From specu- 
lations like these, founded, as they are, in good sense, and 
suggested by the facts of the hour, we may infer how great 
and vital have been the progressive change and the assimilative 
process whereby enlarged commercial relations have doomed 
to oblivion petty local rivalries, mutual and comprehensive 
interests fused widelynseparated communities, and the applica- 
tion of steam to locomotion brought together regions which 
once appeared too widely severed ever to own a common 
object of pursuit or sentiment of nationality. The Revolu- 
tionary War, the naval triumphs, the system of internal im- 
provements and communication, the agricultural, commercia], 
and manufacturing growth of the United States, in eighty 
years, are best realized when the present is compared with 
such authentic records of the past as honest Dr. Bumaby has 
left us. Yet the events of the passing hour not less em- 
phatically suggest how truly he indicated the essential diffi- 
culties of the social and civic problem to be solved on this 
continent, when he described the antagonism of the systems 
of labor prevalent in the North and South. 

" A Concise View of North America," ♦ by Major Robert 

* ''A Concise Account of North America, and the British Coloniea, Indian 
Tribes, &c/' hj M(\jor Robert Rogers, 8to., 1766. 


Rogers, published in London in 1765, contains some general 
information ; chiefly, however, but a meagre outline, which 
subsequent writers have filled up. The unhealthiness and 
mosquitos of the Carolinas seem to haye annoyed him 
physically, and the intolerance of the " New Haven Colony " 
morally. He finds much in the natural resources, but Dttle in 
the actual life of the country to extol ; and gives the follow- 
ing sombre picture of Rhode Island, which forms an entire 
contrast to the more gonial impression which Bishop Berke- 
ley recorded of his sojourn there : 

" There are in this coloDy men of almost every persuasion in the 
world. The greater nmnber are Quakers, and many have no reli- 
gion at all, or, at least, profess none ; on which account no questions 
are asked, each man being left pretty much to think and act for him- 
self—of which neither the laws nor his neighbors take much cogni- 
zance: so greatly is their liberty degenerated into licentiousness. 
This province is infested with a rascally set of Jews, who fail not to 
take advantage of the great liberty here granted to men of all pro- 
fessions and religions, and are a pest not only to this, but to the 
neighboring provinces. There is not a free school in the whole col- 
ony, and the education of children b generally shamefully neg- 

Two works on America appeared in London in 1760-'61, 
which indicate that special information in regard to this coun- 
try was, then and there, sufliciently a desideratum to afford a 
desirable theme for a bookseller's job. The first of these 
was edited by no less a personage than Edmund Burke ; * and 
somewhat of the interest he afterward manifested in the 
rights and prospects of our country, may be traced to the 
research incident to this publication, which was issued under 
the title of " European Settlements in America." It was one 
of those casual tasks undertaken by Burke before he had risen 
to fame : like all compilations executed with a view to emol- 
ument rather than inspired by personal taste, these two 
respectable but somewhat dull volumes seem to have made 
little impression upon the public. They succinctly describe 

* '^ Account of the European Settlements in America," by Edmmid Burke, 
2 v(ds., Sra maps, London, 1161. 


the West India Islands, the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, the 
colonies of Lonisiana, and the French, Dutch, and English 
settlements, the rise and progress of Pnritanism, and the 
persecution and emigration of its votaries. With reference 
to the latter, considerable statistical information is given in 
regard to New England, and the colonial history of Penn- 
sylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas sketched. 
Trade, laws, natural history, political views, productions, Ac^ 
are dwelt upon ; and, as a book of reference at the time, the 
work doubtless proved useful. It appeared anonymously, with 
the imprint of Dodsley, who issued a fourth edition in 1766. 

^'The affidrs of America,'' says Burke, in his preface, 
" have lately engaged a great deal of public attention. Be- 
fore the present hour there were very few who made the his- 
tory of that quarter of the world any part of their study. 
The history of a country which, though vast in itself, is the 
property of only four nations, and which, though peopled 
probably for a series of ages, is only known to the rest of 
the world for about two centuries, does not naturally afford 
matter for many volumes." He adds, that, to gain the 
knowledge thus brought together, " a great deal of reading 
has been found requisite." He remarks, also, that ^^ what- 
ever is written by the 'English settlers in our colonies is to 
be read with great caution," because of the " bias of interest 
for a particular province." He found most of these records 
" dry and disgusting reading, and loaded with a lumber of 
matter ; " yet observes* that " the matter is very curious in 
itself, and extremely interesting to us as a trading people." 
Although irksome, he seems to have fulfilled his task with 
conscientious care, '^ comparing printed accounts with the 
best private information;" but calls attention to the fact 
that '^ in some places the subject refuses all ornament." He 
acknowledges his obligation to Harris's " Voyages." 

It is interesting, after having glanced at this early com- 
pendium of American resources, history, and local tndts — 
the work of a young and obscure bat highly gifted Irish 
lettercUeur — to turn to the same man's plea, in the days of his 


ontorical renown and parliameDtaiy eminence, for that dis- 
tant but rapidly growing country. ^'England, sir," said 
Burke, in the House of Commons, in 1775, in his speech on 
conciliation with America, ^^ England is a nation which still, 
I hope, respects, and formerly adored her freedom. The 
colonists emigrated from you when this part of your charac- 
ter was most predominant; and they took this bias and 
direction the moment they parted from your hands. They 
are, therefore, not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty 
according to English ideas, and on English principles ; " — and, 
in allusion to the whale fishery, " neither the perseverance of 
Holland, nor the activity of France, nor the dexterity and 
firm sagacity of English enterprise, ever carried this most 
perilous mode of hardy industry to the extent to which it 
has been pushed by this recent people — a people who are still 
in the gristle, not yet hardened into the bone of manhood.'' 

The other current book of reference, although of some- 
fwhat earlier date, was the combined result of personal obser- 
vation and research, and, in the first respect, had the advan- 
tage of Burke's compilation. It is curious to remember, as 
we examine its now neglected pages, that when ^^ Rasselas " 
and the " Vicap of Wakefield " were new novels, and the 
" Traveller " the fresh poem of the day, the cotemporaries 
of Johnson, Goldsmith, and Burke, as they dropped in at 
Dodsley's, in Pall Mall, found there, as the most full and 
recent account of North America, the " Summary, Historical 
and Political, of the First Planting, Progressive Improve- 
ments, and Present State of the British Settlements in North 
America, by William Douglass, M. D." ♦ There is much infor- 
mation, especially historical, in these two volumes, although 
most of it has long since been elaborated in more finished 
annals. Here is the story of th.e Dutch East India trade ; of 
the Scots' Darien Company, which forms so graphic an epi- 
sode of Macaulay's posthumous volume ; of the Spanish dis- 

* ** Sammary, Historical and Political, of the First plantiiig, ProgressiTO Im- 
prorement, and Present State of the British Settlements in America/* bj Dr. 
William Doo^ass 2 vols. Sto., London, 1166, 


coveries and settlements, and of the Hadson's Bay Company. 
The voyages of Cabot, Frobishefj Gilbert, Davis, Hudson, 
Middleton, Dobbs, Button, James, Baffin, and Fox, are briefly 
sketched. On the subject of the whale and cod fisheries, 
numerous details, both historical and statistical, are given. 
The '^ Mississippi Bubble " is described, and the Canadian ex- 
pedition under Sir William Fhipps, in 1690, as well as the 
reduction of Port Royal in 1710. Each State of New Eng- 
land is delineated, as well as New York, Pennsylvania, New 
Jersey, and Virginia ; and what is said of the Indians, of 
sects, of boundaries, polity, witchcrail, currency, colleges, 
scenery, and products, though either without significance or 
too familiar to interest the reader of to-day, must have 
proved seasonable knowledge to Englishmen then meditating 
emigration to America. The author of this "Summary" 
was a Scotchm^ by birth, who long practised his profession 
in Boston. He seems to have attained no small degree of 
professional eminence. He published a treatise on small 
pox in 1722, and one on epidemic fever in 1736. The most 
original remarks in his work relate to local diseases, and his 
medical digressions are frequent. He remarks, in stating the 
diverse condition of the people of old and New England, 
that the children of the latter " are more forward and preco- 
cious ; their longevity is more rare, and their fecundity iden- 
tical.'' He enumerates the causes of chronic distempers in 
America, independent of constitutional defects, as being bad 
air and soil, indolence, and intemperance. The worthy doc- 
tor, though an industrious seeker after knowledge, appears to 
have indulged in strong prejudices and partialities according 
to the tendency of an eager temperament ; so that it is often 
requisite to make allowance for his personal inferences. He 
was warmly attached to his adopted country, and naively 
admits, in the preface to his work, that, in one instance, his 
statements must be reconsidered, having been expressed 
with a "somewhat passionate warmth and indiscretion" 
merely in affection to Boston and the country of New 
England, his alt^a pcUricu Dr. Douglass died in 1752. 


His work on the ^^ British Settlements in North America" 
was originally published in nmnbers, at Boston, between 
January and May, 1749, forming the first volume; the 
second in 1753 ; and both first appeared in London in 1766. 
The work was left incomplete at the author's death. An 
improved edition was issued by Dodsley in 1760. Adam 
Smith calls him ^^ the honest and downright Dr. Douglass ; " 
but adds that, in ^^ his history of the American colonies he is 
often incorrect ; and it was his foible to measure the worth 
of men by his personal friendship for them." 

Chancellor Kent, in a catalogue raisonnS he kindly drew 
up for the use of a Young Men's Association, commended to 
their attention the '* Travels and Adventures of Alexander 
Henry," * a fur trader, and a native of New Jersey, who, be- 
tween the years 1760 and 1776, travelled in the northwest 
part of America, and, in 1809, published an account of this 
long and remarkable experience. Confessedly ^^ a premature 
attempt to share in the fur trade of Canada directly on the 
conquest of the country, led him into situations of some dan- 
ger and singularity" — quite a modest way of stating a series 
of hazards, artifices, privations, and successes, enough to fur- 
nish material for « more complacent writer to excite the 
wonder and sympathy of a larger audience than he strove to 
win. In the year 1760 he accompanied General Amherst's 
expedition, which, after the conquest of Quebec, descended 
from Oswego to Fort Levi, on Lake Ontario. They lost 
three boats and their cargoes, and nearly lost their lives, in 
the rapids. Much curious information in regard to the In- 
dians, the risks and method of the fur trade, and the adven- 
turous phases of border life in the northwest, may be found 
in this ingenious narrative. Henry's " enterprise, intrepidity, 
and perils," says Kent, " excite the deepest interest." 

Forty letters,! written between 1769 and 1777, by William 

* ** Travels and Adventarea in Canada and the Indian Tcrriiorj, between 
the Y«ars 1760 and 1776," New York, 1809. 

f** Letters from America, Historical and DescriptiTe, comprising Occnr- 
i from 1769 to 1777, inclusive," by William Eddia, 8vo., 1792. 


Eddis, and published in London in 1792, contain numerous 
statiBtical and historical facts not elsewhere obtainable. The 
author's position as surveyor of the customs at Annapolis, in 
Maryland, gave him singular advantages as an observer ; and 
his letters are justly considered as the ^^best account we 
have of the rise of Revolutionary principles in Maryland,'' 
and have been repeatedly commended to historical students 
by British and American critics, although their details are so 
unfavorable to the former, and so full of political promise to 
the latter. The writer discusses trade, government, manners, 
and climate, and traces the progress of the civil dissensions 
which ended in the separation of the colonies from the mother 

If from an urbane French ofScer and ally we turn to the 
record of an English militairej whose views of men and 
things we naturally expect to be warped by political animos- 
ity and the fact that many of his letters were written while 
he was a prisoner of war, it is an agreeable surprise to find, 
with occasional asperity, much candid intelligence and inter- 
esting local information. Thomas Anbury was* an ofScer in 
Burgoyne's army, and his " Travels in the Interior of Amer- 
ica " was published in London in 1789. He tells us that the 
lower classes of the New Englanders are impertinently curi- 
ous and inquisitive ; that a " live lord " excited the wonder- 
ment of the country people, and disappointed their expecta- 
tions then as now. He complains of Congress as ^^ ready to 
grasp at any pretence, however weak, to evade the terms of 
the convention;" but, at the same time, he commends the 
absence of any unmanly exultation on the part of the Amer- 
icans at Burgoyne's surrender. "After we had piled our 
arms," he writes, " and our march was settled, as we passed 
the American army, I did not observe the least disrespect, or 
even a taunting look ;' all was mute Astonishment and pity." 
He sympathizes with the sorrowful gratification of a be- 
reaved mother, to whom one of his brother officers restored 
her son's watch, which the British soldiers had purloined 
from his body on the battle field. He writes of the bright 


jdnmBge of the hummingbird, and the mnsical ciy of the 
whippoorwill ; the grandeur of the Hudson, and the grace of 
the Passaic Falls. He notes some curious and now obsolete 
New England customs, and describes the process of cider 
making, and the topography of Boston ; in which vicinity he 
experienced all the rigor of an old-fashioned winter in that 
latitude, the dreariness of which, however, seems to have 
been essentially relieved by the frolicking sleigh rides of the 
young people. In one of his letters, dated Cambridge, where 
he was quartered for many weeks, he thus speaks of that 
academic spot as it appeared during the Revolution : 

'* The town of Cambridge is about six miles from Boston, and 
was the conntry residence of the gentry of that city. There are a 
number of fine houses in it going to decay, belonging to the Loyal- 
ists. The town must have been extremely pleasant ; but its beauty 
is much defaced, being now only an arsenal for military stores : and 
you may suppose it is no agreeable circumstance, every time we walk 
out, to be reminded of our situation, in beholding the artillery and 
ammunition wagons that were taken with our army. The character 
of the inliabitants of this province is improved beyond the descrip- 
tion that our uncle B gave us of them, when he quitted the 

country, thirty years ago ; but Puritanism and the spirit of persecu- 
tion are not yet totally extinguished. The gentry of both sexes are 
hospitable and good-natured, with on air of civility, but constrained 
by fortnality and preciseness. The women are stiff and reserved, 
symmetrical, and have delicate complexions ; the men are tall, thin, 
and generally long-visaged. Both sexes have universally bad teeth, 
whidi must probably be occasioned by their eating so much mo- 

Although a more genial social atmosphere now pervades 
the comparatively populous city, since endeared by" so many 
gifted and gracious names identified with literature and sci- 
ence, the " stiffness " of Cambridge parties was long prover- 
bial ; and an artist who attended one, after years of sojourn 
in Southern Europe, declared his fair partner in a solemn 
quadrille touched his hand, in " crossing over," with a reti- 
cence so instinctively cautious as to remind him of " a boy 
feeling for cucumbers in the dark." The defective teeth then 
BO characteristic of Americans, which Anbury attributes to 


the use of molasses, was noticed by other foreign visitors, 
and more justly ascribed to the climate, and its effect upon 
the whole constitution. It is owing, perhaps, to the greater 
need of superior dental sdence on this side of the water, 
that it subsequently attained such perfection, and that the 
most skilful American practitioners thereof not only abound 
at home, but are preferred in Europe. A Virginian, to whom 
this writer complained of the inquisitiveness and exacting 
local pride of the people, advised him to avoid it by an antici- 
patory address to every new set of acquaintance, as follows : 
^ Ladies and gentlemen, I am named Thomas Anbury. It is 
no little mortification that I cannot visit Boston, for it is the 
second city of America, and the grand emporium of rebel- 
lion ; but our parole excludes us from it." 

Despite an occasional sleigh ride along the Mystic and the 
Charles^ some interesting phases of nature that beguiled his 
observant mind, and the hospitable treatment he frequently 
received, we cannot wonder that he found renewing his 
-^pass" every month, and the monotonous limits of his win- 
ter quarters, irksome ; so that every morning, with his com- 
rades, he eagerly gazed ^^ from their barracks to the mouth 
of Boston harbor, hoping to catch sight of the fleet of trans- 
ports that was to convey them to England." 

A striking illustration of the influence of Tory prejudice 
and disappointment, immediately after the successful termina- 
tion of the War of Independence, may be found in the Trav- 
els of J. F. D. Smythe.* The work was published by sub- 
scription, and among the list of patrons are many names of 
the nobiHty and oflScers of the British army. The writer 
professes to be actuated by a desire to gratify public curios- 
ity about a country which has just passed through an '^ ex- 
traordinary revolution." He declares it a painful task "to 
mention the hardships and severities" he had undergone in 
the cause of loyalty and the pursuit of knowledge. He dis- 
claims ill will, having ^ no resentments to indulge, no revenge 

• ** A Tour in the United States of America," bj J. F. B. Smythe, Eaq^ Lon- 
don, 1784. 


to pursue; ** and adds, ^^ The few instances I have met with 
of kind and generous treatment, have afforded me infinite 
g^tification." The occasion and motive of his publication are 
thus stated : ^^ Having lateljr arrived from America, where I 
had made extensive journeys, and fatiguing, perilous expe- 
ditions, prompted by unbounded curiosity and an insatiable 
enthusiasm for knowledge, during a residence in that country 
for a considerable length of time, I had become perfectly 
reconciled and habituated to the manners, customs, disposi- 
tions, and sentiments of the inhabitants.*' He conceived 
lumself peculiarly fitted to describe and discuss the new 
republic Moreover, he was dissatisfied with all that had 
been published on the subject. ^^ I eagerly sought out and 
pursued," he observes, " with a degree of avidity rarely felt, 
every treatise and publication relating to America, from the 
first discovery by the immortal Columbus to Carver's late 
travels therein, and even the ^ Pennsylvania Farmer's Letters,' 
by Mr. Hector St. John, if, indeed, such a person ever exist- 
ed ; but always had the extreme mortification to meet with 
disappointment in my expectations, every one grasping at 
and enlarging on the greater objects, and not a single author 
descending to the minutiae, which compose as well the true 
perspective as the real intercourse and commerce of life." 
He bespeaks the kindly judgment of his readers for a work 
^ written without ornament or elegance, and perhaps, in some 
respects, not perfectly accurate, being composed under pecu- • 
liarly disadvantageous circumstances." The latter excuse is 
the best. Baffled and chagrined in his personal aspirations, 
and having suffered capture, imprisonment, and, accordmg to 
his own account, some wanton cruelty ; remembering tlie pri- 
vations and dangers of travel in. a new, and exposure in an 
inimical country, shattered by illness, and, above all, morti- 
fied at the ignominious failure of the Royal cause, he writes 
with bitter prejudice and exaggerated antipathy, despite the 
show of candor exhibited in the preface. Nor can we find 
in his work, as a literary or scientific performance, any just 
reason for his depreciation of his predecessors. He may 


note a few drcumstances overlooked hj them, but, on the 
Boore of accurate and fresh information, there is little valne 
in the phy^cal details he gives ; while the political and social 
are so obviously jaundiced hj partisan spite as to be of lim- 
ited significance. Indeed, there is cause to suspect that Mr. 
Smythe was not infrequently quizzed by his informants ; and 
his best reports are of agricultural and topographical facts. 
ffis " Travels in America," therefore, are now more curious 
than valuable : they give us a vivid idea of the perverse and 
prejudiced commentaries in vogue at the period among the 
least magnanimous of the Tory faction. He, like others of 
his class, was struck with the '^ want of subordination among 
the people." He descants on the ^' breed of running horses " 
in Virginia. The bullfrogs, mosquitos, flying squirrels, fossil 
remains, and lofty timber; the wheat, com, sugar, cotton, 
and other crops; the characteristics of different Indian 
tribes; the clearings, the new settlements, the hospitality, 
splendid landscapes, and ^' severe treatment of the negroes ; " 
the handsome women, the ^^accommodations not suited to 
an epicure," the modes of farming, the habits of planters 
and riflemen, the extent and character of the large rivers, 
the capacity of soils, and the behavior of different classes, 
Ac, form his favorite topics of description and discussion, 
varied by inklings of adventure and severe experiences as a 
fugitive and a prisoner. He tells us of the ^^ harems of 
beautiful slaves" belonging to the Jesqit establishment in 
Maiyland ; of being " attacked by an itinerant preacher ; " 
of the " painful sensation of restraint" experienced from the 
" gloom of the woods ; " of his horse '* refusing to eat ba- 
con ; " and of the " formal circumlocution " of a wayside 
acquaintance, evidently better endowed with humor than 
himself. In these and similar themes his record assimilates 
with many others written at the time; but what give it 
peculiar emphasis, are the political comments and prophecies 
— ^very curious to recall now, in the light of subsequent 
events and historical verdicts. " I have no wish to widen the 
breach," he says ; ^^ but the illiberal and vindictive principles 


of the prevailing party'* in America, seem to him fatal to 
any hearty reconciliation between the mother comitry and 
her wayward and enfranchised oaring. So absolutely i» 
his moral perception obscured, that he deliberately maligns a 
character whose immaculate purity even enemies then recog- 
nised with delight. "It was at Alexandria," he writes, 
** that George Washington first stepped forth as the public 
patron and leader of sedition, having subscribed fifty pounds 
where others subscribed only five, and having accepted the 
command of the first company of armed associates against 
the British Government.'' So far we have only the state- 
ment of a political antagonist ; but when, in the retrospect 
of his career as military chieftain and civic leader, he thus 
estimates the man whose disinterestedness had already be- 
come proverbial, we recognize the absolute perversity of this 
professedly candid writer : 

" Mr. WaBhington has uniformly cherished and steadfastly pur- 
sued an apparently mild, steady, but aspiring line of coDduct, and 
views of the highest ambition, under the most specious of all cloaks 
— ^that of moderation, which he invariably appeared to possess. His 
total want of generous sentiments, and even of common humanity, 
has appeared notoriously in many instances, and in none more than 
in his sacrifice of the meritorious but unfortunate Mi\jor Andr6. 
Nor during his life has he ever performed a single action that could 
entitle him to the least show of merit, much less of glory ; but as a 
politician he has certainly distinguished himself, having, by his politi- 
cal manoBuvres, and his cautious, plausible management, raised him- 
self to a degree of eminence in his own country unrivalled, and of 
considerable stability. In his private character he has always been 

As a specimen of Tory literature, this portrait forms a 
singular and suggestive contrast with those sketched of the 
same illustrious subject by Chastellux, Guizot, Erskine, 
Brougham, Everett, and so many other brilliant writers. It 
is easy to imagine what discouraging views of the new 
republic such a man would take, afler this evidence of his 
moral perspicacity and mental discrimination. Yet Mr. 
Smythe was of a sentimental turn. There are verses in his 


American Travels, ^^ written in solitude,'* not, indeed, eqnal 
to Shelley's; and, when incarcerated, he inscribed rhymes 
with charcoal on his prison wall. We must make due allow- 
ance for the wounded sensibilities of a man who had been 
the victim of a " brutal Dutch guard," a " robber of the 
mountiun," and a " barbarous jfdler," when he tells us that 
the " fatal termination of the war," and the " consequences 
of separation from Great Britain and alliance with France," 
are "inauspicious for both countries." According to Mr. 
Smythe, the Americans were "corrupted by French gold," 
and entered into an " affected amity with that artful, perfidi- 
ous, and gaudy people." He prophesies that " when the in- 
toxication of success is over, they will repent their error." 
Meantime, he pleads earnestly for the Loyalists, declares 
America rapidly becoming depopulated on account of its 
^^ unsettled government " and the check of emigration, and, 
altogether, an " unfit place of residence." 



wakbet; coopeb; wilson; dayis; ashe; bribted; keitdall; 
weld; cobbbtt; camfbell; bybon; moobe; mbs. wake- 

hall; feabon; fiddleb; lysll; feathebstokauoh ; combe; 


MBS. trollofe; obattan; lobd Carlisle; anthont tbol- 



If, in early colonial times, North America was sought as a 
refnge from persecution and a scene of adventurous explora- 
tion, and, during the French and Revolutionary wars^ became 
an arena for valorous enterprise ; when peace smiled upon the 
newly organized Government of the United States, they 
allured quite another class of visitors — those who sought to 
ascertain, by personal observation, the actual facilities which 
the New World offered, whereby the unfortunate could re- 
deem and the intrepid and dexterous advance their position 
and resources. Hence intelligent reporters of industrial and 
social opportunities were welcomed in Europe, and especially 
among the manufacturers, agriculturists, and traders of 
Britain ; and these later records differ from the earlier in 
more specific data and better statistical information. To the 
American reader of the present day they are chiefly attrac- 
tive as affording facts and figures whereby the development 
of the country can be distinctly traced from the adoption of 


the Federal Constitution to the present time, and a salient 
contrast afforded between the modes of life and the aspect 
of places sixty years ago and to-day. The vocation, social 
rank, and personal objects of these writers so modify their 
observations, that, in almost every instance, allowance must 
be made for the partialities and prejudices, the limited knowl- 
edge or the self-love of the journalist and letter writer ; yet, 
as their aim usually is to impart such information as will be 
of practical benefit to those who contemplate emigration, 
curious and interesting details, economical and social, may 
often be gleaned from their pages. One of these books, 
which was quite popular in its day, and is still occasionally 
quoted, is that of Wansey, which was published in 1794, and 
subsequently reprinted here.* His voyage across the Atlan- 
tic was far from agreeable, and not without serious priva- 
tions. Indeed, nothing more remarkably indicates the prog- 
ress of comfort and luxury within the last half century, than 
the speed and plentiful resources wherewith the visitor to 
America now makes the transit. Wansey, as was the custom 
then, furnished his own napkins, bedding, and extras for the 
voyage ; his account of which closes with the remark, that 
'^tiiere does not exist a more sordid, penurious race than 
the captains of passage and merchant vessels." Yet a no- 
bler class of u^en than the American packet captains of a 
subsequent era never adorned the merchant service of any 

Henry Wansey, F. S. A., was an English manufacturer, and 
his visit to America had special reference to his vocation. 
He notes our then very limited enterprise in this sphere, and 
examined the quality and cost of wool in several of the 
States. On the 8th of June, 1704, he breakfasted with 
Washington at Philadelphia. " I confess," he writes, " I was 
struck with awe and veneration. The President seemed very 
thoughtful, and was slow in delivering himself, which in- 

• " An Excursion to the United States, in the Summer of 1794," by Hemy 
Wansey ; with a curious profile portrait of Washington, and a Tiew of the 
State House in Philadelphia, 12mo., pp. 280, Salisbury, 1798. 


dnced some to believe him reserved; but it was rather, I 
apprehend, the result of much reflection ; for he had, to me, 
the appearance of affability and accommodation. He was, at 
this time, in his sixty-third year, but had very little the iq> 
pearance of age, having been all his life exceedmgly temper- 
ate. There was a certain anxiety visible in his countenance, 
with marks of extreme sensibility." 

Wansey, like most visitors at that period, was struck with 
the great average of health, intelligence, and contentment 
among the people. '^ In these States," he writes, ^^ you behold 
a certain plainness and simplicity of manners, equality of con- 
dition, and a sober use of the faculties of the mind. It is 
seldom you hear of a madman or a blind man in any of the 
States ; seldom of a fdo de se^ ot a, man afflicted with the 
gout or palsy. There is, indeed, at Philadelphia, a hospital 
for lunatics. I went over it, but fo^nd there very few, if 
any, that were natives. They were chiefly Irish, and mostly 
women." What an illustration of our present eagerness for 
wealth and office— of the encroachments of prosperity upon 
simple habits and chastened feelings — ^is the fact that now 
insanity is ^so prevalent as to be characteristic, and that a 
" sober use of the faculties of the mind " is the exception, 
not the rule, of American life ! 

To those curious in byway economies, it may be pleasant 
to know, that Wansey, in the year '94, found the " Bunch of 
Grapes " the best house of entertainment in Boston ; that it 
was kept by Colonel Colman, and that, though "pestered 
with bugs," his guest paid " five shillings a day, including a 
pint of Madeira." He records, as memorable, the circum- 
stance that he " took a walk to Bunker Hill with an officer 
who had been on the spot in the battle ; " and that they re- 
turned " over the new bridge from Cambridge," which Wan- 
sey — ^not having lived to see the Suspension Bridge at Niag- 
ara, the Victoria at Montreal, nor the Waterloo in London — 
observes is " a most prodigious work for so infant a country 
— worthy of the Roman empire." Boston then boasted 
** forty hackney ooaches, which carry one to any part of the 


towD for a quarter of a dollar.'' The pillar on Beacon ffill, 
and Long Wharf, were to him the chief local objects of 
interest. He visited the ^^ famous geographer/' Jedediah 
Morse, at Charlestown, read the Columbian Centindj and 
attended ^' the only Unitarian chapel yet opened in America, 
and heard Mr. Freeman." Springfield, in Massachusetts, put 
him in mind of Winboum, in Dorsetshire ; the coffee there 
was " ill made," and the " butter rank," while the best article 
of food he found was ^' fried fish." He was charmed with 
the abundance of robins and swallows, and saw ^' a salmon 
caught in a seine in the Connecticut River," and " a school- 
house by the roadside in almost every parish." He attended a 
meeting of the Legislature in Hartford, and heard a debate 
as to how ^' to provide for the poor and sick negroes who 
had been freed from slavery — ^the question being whether it 
was incumbent on the former masters, or the State, to subsist 
them. Like all strangers then and there, he was hospitably 
received by Mr. Wadsworth. He mentions, as a noteworthy 
facility for travellers, that " three or four packets sail every 
week from New Haven to New York." Of New England 
conmiodities which he records for their novelty or preva- 
lence, are sugar from the maple tree, soft soap, and cider. 
Like all foreigners, he complams of the bad bread, and enu- 
merates, as a curious phenomenon, that there is ^' no tax on 
candles ; " that thunder storms are frequent, and lightning 
conductors on all the houses ; that woodpeckers, flycatchers, 
and kingbirds abound; that the dwellings are built exclu- 
sively of timber, and that " women and children, in most of 
the country places, go without caps, stockings, and shoes." 
The well poles of New Jersey, and her domestic flax spin- 
ners, cherry trees, and fireflies impress him as characteristic ; 
and he is disappointed in the quality of the wool produced 
there. In New York, Mr. Wansey lodged at the Tontine 
Coflbe House, near the Battery, where he met Citizen Genet 
and Joseph Priestley, breakfasted with General Gates, and 
received a call from Chancellor Livingston. He " makes a 
note " of the then " public buildings " — ^viz., the Governor's 


house, the Exchange, the Society Library, the Literary Coffee 
House, Colombia College, the hospital, and workhouse. He 
found some " good paintings by Trumbull " at Federal Hall, 
was interested in Montgomery's monument, went with a 
party to see " Dickson Colton's manufactory at Hellgate,'* 
and Hodgkinson in '^ A Bold Stroke for a Husband " at the 
theatre. He encountered John Adams, then Vice-President, 
at Burling Slip, '^ on board the packet just sailing for Bos- 
ton," and describes him as ^^ a stout, hale, well-looking man, 
of grave deportment, and quite plain in dress and person.'' 
He dined with Comfort Sands ; and Mr. Jay, '' brother to 
the ambassador," took him to "the Belvidere — an elegant 
tea-drinking house, with delightful views of the harbor;" 
also to " the Indian Queen, on the Boston road, fiUed with 
Frenchmen and tri-color cockades." Li Philadelphia, he saw 
Washington at the play, which was one of Mrs. Inchbald's ; 
dined with Mr. Bingham, and heard all about the ravages of 
the yellow fever of the preceding year. 

How suggestive are even such meagre notices of personal 
experience, reviving to our minds the primitive housewifery, 
the political vicissitudes, and the social tastes which mark the 
history of the land sixty years ago : when the first President 
of the republic had been recently inaugurated; when the 
mischievous " French alliance " was creating such bitter par- 
tisan feeling ; when a Unitarian philosopher fled from a Bir- 
mingham mob to the wilds of Pennsylvania ; when the abo- 
lition of slavery was a familiar fact in our social life ; when 
good Mrs. Inchbald's dramas were favorites, and Brockden 
Brown was writing his graphic story of the pestilence that 
laid waste his native city; when Trumbull was the artist, 
Hodgkinson the actor, Genet the demagogue, Livingston the 
lawyer, and Washington the glory of the land I 

Among the economical writers on our country, Thomas 
Cooper was at one time much quoted.* His remarks were, 
however, the fruits of quite a brief survey, as he left Eng- 

• ««SomeIiifonnation respecting America," London, 1794. 


land late in the sammer of 1793, and embarked on his return 
the ensuing winter. He found " land cheap and labor dear ; " 
praises the fertility of the Genesee Valley, then attracting 
emigrants from New England, as its subsequent inhabitants 
were lured by the same causes to the still farther western plains 
of Ohio and Illinois. Cooper indicates, as serious objections 
to New York State, the intermittent fevers, and the unsatis- 
factory land tenure — ^both of which obstacles have gradually 
disappeared or been auspiciously modified, as the civilization 
of the interior has advanced, and its vast reso^ces been 
made avulable by the genius of communication. This writer 
also declares that the climate of Pennsylvania is more dry. 
The existence of slavery he considers a ^ital objection to the 
Southern sections of the country for the British emigrant. 
He remarks of Rhode Island, that it is ^^ in point of climate 
as well as appearance the most similar to Great Britain of 
any State in the Union " — ^a remark confirmed often since by 
foreign visitors and native travellers. It is to be observed, 
however, that most of those who explored the States, when 
the facilities for travel were meagre and inadequate, for the 
purpose of obtaining economical information, usually confined 
their experience to special regions, where convenience or acci- 
dent induced them to linger ; and thus they naturally give 
the preference to different places. Brissot recommends the 
Shenandoah Valley, and Imlay, Kentucky. Cooper thought 
**the prospect in the professions unprofitable." He states 
that literary men, as a class, did not exist, though the names 
t)f Franklin, Rittenhouse, Jefferson, Paine, and Barlow were 
distinguished. The number of articles he mentions as indis- 
pensable " to bring over," in 1793, gives one a startling idea 
of the deficiencies of the country. He 'asserts, however, that 
the " culinary vegetables of America are superior to those of 
England ; " but, on the other hand, was disappointed in the 
trees, as, "although the masses of wood are large and 
grand," yet the arborescent specimens individually " fell 
much short of his expectations ; " which does not surprise 
those of his readers who have seen the noble and impressive 


trees which stand forth in such magnificent i^elief in some of 
the parks and manor gromids of England^ The details of a 
new settlement given by this writer, are more or less identi- 
cal with those which have since become so familiar to us, 
from the vivid pictures of life in the West; but we can 
easily imagine how interesting they must have been to those 
contemplating emigration, or with kindred who had lately 
found a new home on this continent. More, however, of the 
Puritan element mingled with and marked the life of the set- 
tlers in what was then " the West " — and tinctured the then 
nascent tide of civilization. Somewhat of the simplicity no- 
ticed by writers during colonial times, yet lingered ; and the 
social lesson with which Cooper ends his narrative is benign 
and philosophical: ^'By the almost general mediocrity of 
fortune," he writes, ^^ that prevails in America, obliging its 
people to follow some business for subsbtence, those vices 
that arise usually from idleness are in a great measure pre- 
vented. Atheism is unknown ; and the Divine Being seems 
to have manifested His approbation of the mutual forbear- 
ance and kindness with which the different sects treat each 
other, by the remarkable prosperity with which He has been 
pleased to crown the whole country." 

Alexander Wilson, the ornithologist, the Paisley weaver 
and poet, after enduring political persecution and great pri- 
vations at home, landed at Newcastle, in Delaware, July 
14th, 1794, and, having shot a red-headed woodpecker, was 
inspired with an ornithological enthusiasm which decided his 
career. He became a schoolmaster, an ardent politician, and, 
through intimacy with /Bartram, a confirmed naturalist. He 
wrote for Brockden Brown's magazine, made a pedestrian 
tour to Niagara, was the author of "The Foresters" — an 
elaborate poem in the Portfolio^ and fixed his home on the 
banks of the Susquehanna : meantime, and subsequently, toil- 
ing, in spite of every obstacle and with beautiful zeal, upon 
his " American Ornithology ; " and in this and other writings, 
in verse and prose, giving the most \dvid local descriptions of 


life and natare in America as revealed to the eye of science 
and of song.* 

Travel here, as elsewhere, brings out the idiosyncrasies, 
and proves a test of character. A certain earnestness of 
purpose and definite sympathy lend more or less dignity to 
the narratives of missionary, soldier, and savant / but these 
were soon succeeded by a class of men whom accident or 
necessity brought hither. The welcome accorded some of 
them, when " stranger was a holy name " among us, and the 
greater social consideration experienced in a less conventional 
state of society than that to which they had been accus- 
tomed, sometimes induced an amusing self-complacency and 
oracular tone. With the less need of the heroic, more super- 
ficial traits of human nature found scope ; and a fastidious 
taste and critical standard were too often exhibited by writers, 
whose previous history formed an incongruous parallel with 
the newborn pretensions warmed into life by the republican 
atmosphere of this young land. A visitor whose narrow 
means obliged him often to travel on fbot and rely on casual 
hospitality, and whose acquirements enabled him to subsist 
as a tutor in a Southern family, for several months, would 
challenge our respect for his independence and self-reliance, 
were it not for an egotistical claim to the rank of a practical 
and philosophical traveller, which obtrudes itself on every 
page of his journal. Some descriptive sketches, however, 
atone for the amiable weakness of John Davis,f whose 
record includes the period between 1708 and 1802, during 
which he roamed over many sections of the country, and 
observed various phases of American life. " I have entered," 
he says, ^' with equal interest, the mud hut of the negro and 

* ** American Ornithology ; or, The Natural History of the Birds of the 
United States," with plates from original drawings taken from nature, 9 toIs., 
foUo, Philadelphia, 1808-^*14. 

** The Foresters, a Poem descriptiye of a Pedestrian Journey to the Falls 
of Niagara," 12mo., Paisley, 1825. 

f ** Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States, during the 
years 1798 to 1802," by John Davis, dedicated to President Jefferson, Svo., 
London, 1803. 


the log house of the planter ; I have likewise communed with 
the slave who wields the hoe and the taskmaster who im- 
poses the labor." Pope, Addison, and Johnson were his 
oracles, and the style of the latter obviously won his sympa- 
thy. Burr fascinated him; Dennie praised his verses, and 
he saw Brockden Brown. His volume abounds with byway 
anecdotes. He records the details of his experience with the 
zest of one whose self-esteem exalts whatever befalls and 
surrounds him. To-night he is kept awake by the howls of 
a mastiff to-morrow he dines on venison ; now he writes an 
elegy, and now engages in literaiy discussion with a planter. 
His odes to a cricket, a mockingbird, to Ashley Kiver, etc, 
evidei^ce the Shenstone taste and rhyme then so much in 
vogue. He ^^contemplated with reverence the portrait of 
James Logan," and diaws from an Irish clergyman new anec- 
dotes of Groldsmith. He disputes Franklin's originality in the 
form of an amusing dialogue between a Virginian and a New 
Englander, tracing the philosopher's famous parable to Bishop 
Taylor, and his not less famous epitaph to a Latin author. 
He praises Phillis Wheatley, and notes, with evident pleas- 
ure, the trees, grains, reptiles, birds, and animals. Great is 
his dread of the rattlesnake. Anecdotes and verses, philo- 
sophical reflections and natural history items, with numerous 
personal confessions and impressions, make up a characteris- 
tic mHangey in which the vanity of a bard and the specula- 
tions of a traveller sometimes grotesquely blend, but with so 
much good nature and harmless pedantry, that the result is 
diverting, and sometimes instructive. " My long residence," 
he writes, '^ in a community ^ where honor and shame from 
BO condition rise,' has placed me above the ridiculous pride 
of disowning the situation of a tutor." In this vocation he 
certainly enjoyed an excellent opportunity to observe that 
unprecedentc<l blending of the extremes of high civilization 
and rude economies which forms one of the most salient 
aspects of our early history. The English tutor, when do- 
mesticated in a Southern family, was sheltered by a log 
house while he shared the pleasures of a sumptuous table ; 


and, when Burrounded by the crude aooommodations of a 
new plantation, witnessed the highest refinement of manners, 
and listened to the most intellectual amversation. If, during 
his wanderings, he was annoyed, one night, by a short bed, 
he was amused, the next, by a travelling menagerie. If, in 
tutoring, his patience was tried by seeing people ^' strive to 
exceed each other in the vanities of life,'' he was compen- 
sated, in the woods, by shooting wild turkeys with his pupiL 
He quotes Shakspeare, and observes nature with great relish ; 
and the cotton plant, the autunm wind, the wild deer, eagles, 
hummingbirds, whippoorwills, bog plant, and flycatchers, 
with occasional flirtations with a mellifluous muse, beguile 
the time ; and he boasts, in the retrospect of hia four years' 
sojourn, and the written digest thereof, that he ^' scorns com- 
plaints of mosquitos and bugs," that he ^^ eschews magnifi- 
cent epithets," ^^ makes no drawings," and '^ has not joined 
the crew of deists " — ^which negative merits, we infer, were 
rare in travellers' tales half a century ago. The republican 
ideas, inquiring turn of mind, or extreme deference of this 
writer, seems to have won him the favorable regard of Jef- 
ferson, upon whom and Burr he la>ishes ardent praise : and 
the former seems to recognize not only a political admirer, 
but a brother author, in Davis ; foir, in reply to his request 
to dedicate his Travels to the apostle of American democ- 
racy, Jefferson, after accepting graciously the compliment, 
writes : " Should you, in your joumeyings, have been led to 
remark on the same objects on which I gave crude notes 
some years ago, I shall be happy to see them confirmed or 
corrected by so accurate an observer." His work is entitled, 
" Travels of Four and a Half Years in the United States, 
1799-1802," London, 1817. "With more sincerity," says 
Rich's BiUiotheca Americana^ " than is usual among travel- 
lers, he states that he made the tour on foot, because he 
could not afford the expense of a horse." 

In 1806, Thomas Ashe visited North America, with the 
intention of examining the Western rivers, in order to learn, 
from personal inspection, the products of their vicinage, and 


tlie actual state of the adjacent conntiy. The Mississippi, 
Ohio, MoD<mgahela, and Alleghany were the special objects 
of his exploration. His ^^ Trayels in America " * is a cari- 
ous mixture of critical disparagement, quite too general to/ 
be accurate, and of romantic and extravagant episodes, which 
diminish the reliance that might otherwise be placed on the 
more practical statements. The work appeared in London in 

The natural appetite for the marvellous, and the desire 
to obtain a knowledge of facts, at that time, in regard to the 
particular region visited, being prevalent, this now rarely con- 
sulted volume was much read. From Pittsburg he writes : 
^ The Atlantic States, through which I have passed, are un- 
worthy of your observation. The climate has two extremes." 
The Middle States ^^ are less contemptible ; the national fea- 
tures not strong;" and, from this circumstance, he thinks 
it difficult to conjecture what national character will arise. 
At Carlisle, Pa., he ^^ did not meet a man of decent litera- 
ture." He seeks consolation, therefore, in the picturesque 
scenes around him, which are often described in rhetorical 
terms, and in a recognition of the fairer portion of the com- 
munity. Thomson's " Seasons " is evidently a favorite book ; 
and he presents a copy to a " young lady among the emi- 
grants," on the blank leaf of which, he tells us, he wrote a 
^romantic but just compliment." Education, sects, manu- 
factures, and provisions are commented on ; but the tone of 
his remarks, except where he praises the face of nature or 
the manners of a woman, is discouraging to those who con- 
template settling in the western part of the country — which 
he continually brings into severe comparison with the more 
developed communities of the Old World. Indeed, he re- 
pudiates the flattering accounts of previous travellers ; and it 
is evident that the reaction from his own extravagant expec- 

• " TravclB in America, performed in 1806," by Captain Thomaa Ashe, 8 
Tola. 12mo., London, 1808. 

** His account of the Atlantic States forms the most comprehensive piece 
of DAtUnial aboae we erer recollect to have read.*' — JHeh. 


tations leads him to picture the dark side with earnestness. 
Personal disappointment is expressed in all his generaliza- 
tions, although certain local beauties and exceptional indi- 
yiduals modify the strain of complaint, which, though some- 
times well founded, is often unreasonable. He describes the 
hardships and privations incident to emigration, and illus- 
trates them by melancholy examples. The " vicious taste in 
building," the formidable catalogue of snakes, the want of 
literary culture, the discomfort, and the coarse manners quite 
eclipse the charms of landscape and the natural advantages 
of the vast region which, since his journey, has become so 
populous, enterprising, and productive. He ^^ reports" a 
boxing match, horse race, ball and supper in Virginia ; hears 
a debate in Congress, and retires " full of contempt ; '* swin- 
dlers and impostors intrude on his privacy at a tavern. He 
says, with truth, that ^*no people live with less regard to 
regimen;" and, as we read, beautiful scenes seem to be 
counterbalanced by bad food, grand rivers by uncultured 
minds, cheap land by narrow social resources ; in a word, the 
usual conditions of a new country, where nature is exuberant 
and civilization incomplete, are described as such anomalies 
would be by a man with a fluent and ambitious style, tastes 
and self-love easily oflended, and to whom the ^^ law of a pro- 
duction," which Goethe deemed so essential to wise criticism 
in letters, is scarcely applied, though still more requisite to a 
'traveller's estimate. Ashe put on record some really useful 
information, and stated many disenchanting truths about the 
New World, and life there ; but the rhetorical extravagance 
and personal vanity herewith ventilated, detract not a little 
from his authority as a reference and his tact as a romancer. 
The gentler portion of creation alone escape reproach. " I 
assure you," he writes, " that when I expressed the supreme 
disgust excited in me by the people of the United States, the 
ladies were by no means included in the general censure." 

When we remember that such books, half a century ago, 
were the current sources of information in Great Britain in 
regard to America, and that a writer so limited in scope, in* 


diflcrimiiiAte in abuse, and saperfidal in thought, was re- 
garded as an authority, it is easy to perceive how the inimical 
feeling toward this country was fostered. One fact alone 
indicates the shallowness of Ashe : he dates none of his com- 
plaottit epistles from the Northern States, and gives, as a rea- 
son therefor, that they are " unworthy of observation." He 
thinks the social destiny of Pittsburg redeemed by a few 
Irish families settled there, who ^^ hindered the vicious pro- 
pensities of the genuine American character from establish- 
ing here the horrid dominion which they have assumed over 
the Atlantic States." He finds the men deteriorated on 
account of their ^^ political doctrines," which, he considers, 
tend ^ to make men turbulent citizens, abandoned Christians, 
inconstant husbands, and treacherous friends." Here we 
have the secret of this traveller's sweeping censure. His 
liatred of republican institutions not only blinded him to all 
the privileges and merits of American life and character, but 
even to certain domestic traits and professional talents, recog- 
nised by eveiy other foreign observer of the country. Yet, 
palpable as are his injustice and ignorance, contemporary 
critics at home failed to recognize them. One says, '^his 
researches cannot fail to interest the politician, the statesman, 
the philosopher, and the antiquary;" while the Quarterly 
JReview mildly rebukes him for having " spoiled a good book 
by engrafting incredible stories on authentic facts." 

Rev. John Bristed, who succeeded Bishop Griswold in St. 
Michael's Church, at Bristol, R. L, published, in 1818, a work 
on " America and her Resources." He was a native of Dor- 
setshire, England, and, for two years, a pupil of Chitty. 
Strong in his prejudices of country, yet impressed with the 
advantages of the New World, his report of American 
means, methods, and prospects, though containing much use- 
ful, and, at the time, some fresh and desirable information, is 
crude, and tinctured with a personal and national bias, which 
renders it, superseded as most of its facts have been by the 
development of the country, of little present significance. It 
is, however, to the curious, as an Dlustration of character, a 


suggestive indication of the state of feeling of an English 
resident, and of the state of the country forty or fifty years 
since. The author was a scholar, with strong convictions. 
He died at Bristol a few years since, at an advanced age. 
He also published " A Pedestrian Tour in the Highlands," 
in 1804. His work on America was the result of several 
years' residence ; and its scope, tone, and character are best 
hinted by the opinion of one of the leading Reviews of 
England, thus expressed soon after its publication: "We 
cannot avoid regardmg Mr. Bristed with some degree of 
respect," says the London Quarterly. "In writing his 
book, his pride in his native country, which all his repub- 
liqanism has been unable to overcome, has frequently had to 
contend with the flattering but unsubstantial prospect with 
which the prophetic folly that ever accompaoies democracy 
has impressed his mind, to a degree almost equalling that of 
the vain people with whom he is domiciled." As an au- 
thentic landmark of economical progress, this work is use- 
ful as a refereiice, whatever may be thought of its social 

An entire contrast to the record of Ashe appeared about 
the same time, in the " Travels through the Northern Parts 
of the United States," ♦ by Edward Augustus Kendall. No 
previous work on this country so fully explains the State 
polity and organization of New England, and the social facts 
connected therewith. "The intention of travel," says the 
intelligent and candid author, "is the discovery of truth." 
As unsparing in criticism as Ashe, he analyzes the municipal 
system and the social development with so much knowledge 
and fairness, that the political and economical student will 
find more data and detail in his work than, at that period, 
were elsewhere obtainable. It still serves as an authentic 
memorial of the region of country described, at that transi- 
tion era, when time enough had elapsed, after the Revolution- 
ary War, for life and labor to have assumed their normal 

* **TraTel8 through the Northern Parts of the Ucited States, in the years 
180V8," by Edward A. Kendall, 8 vols. Svo., New York, 1809. 


deYelopment, and before their scope had been enlarged and 
their activity intensified by the vast mechanical improve- 
ments of our own day. The local laws of Connecticut, for 
instance, are fully discussed ; townships, elections, churches, 
prisons, schools, and the press — all the elements and principles 
which then and there manifested national and moulded pri- 
vate character. The famous ^^ Blue Laws " form a curious 
chapter ; and, in his account of the newspaper press, he notes 
the remarkable union of " license of thought with very favor- 
able specimens of diction,'' and enlarges upon the prevalent 
^' florid and tumid " languiige in America, its causes and cure ; 
while his chapter on Hartford Poetry is an interesting illus- 
tration of our early local literature. 

Scarcely any contemporary writer of American travels was 
more quoted and popular, sixty years ago, than Isaac Weld, 
whom the troubles of Ireland, in '96, induced to vimt this 
country. That experience, we may readily imagiue, caused 
him thoroughly to appreciate the importance of practical 
observations in a land destined to afford a prosperous home 
for such a multitude of his unfortunate countrymen. Ac- 
cordingly we find, in his well-written work,* abundance of 
economical and statistical facts ; and the interests and pros- 
pects of agriculture and commerce are elaborately considered. 
While this feature rendered Weld's Travels really useful at 
the time of their publication, and an authentip reference sub- 
sequently, his ardent love of nature lent an additional interest 
to his work ; for he expatiates on the beauties of the land- 
scape with the perception of an artist, and is one of the few 
eariy travellers who enriched his journal with authentic 
sketches of picturesque and famous localities. The French 
translation of Weld's Travels in America is thus illustrated ; 
and the old-fashioned yet graphic view of an " Auberge et 
voiture publique dans les ifitats Unis," vividly recalls the days 
anterior to locomotives, so suggestive of stage-coach adven« 

* " Travels through the States of North America and the ProYmces of 
Upper and Lower Canada, in 1795-'96-*97," by Isaao Weld, illuatrated with 
6ne engrarings, 4to., 1799. 


tares, deliberate travel, and the unmodified life and character 
of the rand districts. In describing the sanguinary attacks of 
New Jersey insects, he deals in the marvellous, giving Wash- 
ington as authority that the mosquitos there bite through 
the thickest boots. 

No writer on America has more singularly combined the 
political refugee and adventurer with the assiduous econo- 
mist than William Cobbett. Bom and bred a fanner, he 
fled, while a youth, from the peaceful vocation of his father, 
to become a soldier in Nova Scotia ; but soon left the service, 
visited France, and, in 1796, settled in Philadelphia, where 
the fierce tone of his controversial writings involved him in 
costly libel suits. Hb interest in the political questions then 
rife in America is amply evidenced by the twelve volumes of 
the works of Peter Porcupine, published in London in 1801. 
Returning to England, he became the strenuous advocate of 
Pitt, and started the Weekly Megiater^ which contained his 
lucubrations for thirty years; but, having once more ren- 
dered himself amenable to law by the combined freedom and 
force of his pen, he returned to the United States, and en- 
joyed the prestige of a political exile in the vicinity of New 
York ; and when the repeal of the Six Acts permitted his 
return home, he conveyed to England the bones of Thomas 
Paine, whose memory he idolized. Cobbett is recognized 
under several quite distinct phases, according to the views of 
his critics — as a malignant radical by some, a philosophical 
liberal by others. His style is regarded as a model of per- 
spicacity ; and his love of agriculture, and faith in habits of 
inexpensive comfort and cheerful industry, made him, in the 
eyes of partial observers, quite the model of republican hardi- 
hood and independence ; while the more refined and urbane 
of his day shrank from his vituperative language and bitter 
partisanship. He slandered the benign Dr. Rush, and Ben- 
tham declared "his malevolence and lying beyond every- 
thing;" while Kent remarked that his political writings 
afforded a valuable source of knowledge to those who would 
understand the parties and principles which agitated our 


oonntry during his sojourn; and the London Times ap- 
plauded the muscular vigor ^of his diction. But it is as a 
writer on the economical and social facts of American life, 
that Cobbett now claims our notice ; and in this regard he 
differs from most authors in the same sphere, in the specific 
character of the information he imparts, and the deliberate 
conclusions at which he arrived. Some of our venerable 
countrymen remember his pleasant abode on Long Island, 
and the memorable discussions which sometimes took place 
there between the political exile, reformer, grammarian, and * 
horticulturist, and his intelligent visitors from the city. The 
late Dr. Francis used to quote some of his emphatic sayings, 
and describe his frugal arrangements and agricultural tro- 
phies. Li the preface to his " Year's Residence in America,*** 
Cobbett complains of English travellers as too extreme in 
their statements in regard to the country — one set describing 
it as a paradise, and the other as unfit to live in. He treats 
the subject in a practical way, and from patient experience. 
Enamored of a farmer's life, he boasts that he was ^^ bred up 
at a ploughtail and among the hop gardens of Surrey," and 
that he was never eighteen months " without a garden." He 
expatiates on the superior condition of the agricultural class 
in America, where "a farmer is not a dependent wretch,** 
and where presidents, governors, and legislators pride them- 
selves on the vocation. He describes his own littie domain, 
the American trees he has planted around his house, his ex- 
periments in raising com, potatoes, and especially rutabaga. 
By " daily notes " he carefully reports the transitions of tem- 
perature and seasons, and gives definite accounts of modes 
of cultivation, the price of land, cost of raising kine and 
poultry ; in a word, all the economical details which a prac- 
tical man would prize. By the narrative of his own doings 
in the vicinity of New York, and of his observations during 
a journey to the West, the foreign reader must have obtained 
from Cobbett the most satisfactory knowledge of the mate- 

* ** A Tear's Residence in the United States," 8 toIs., Sto., London, 


rial resources of a large section of the country as it was 
forty years since. Through these agricultural items, how- 
ever, the disappointment of the politician and the sympathies 
of the republican vividly gleam; for the truculent author 
constantly rejoices that no " spies, false witnesses, or blood- 
money men " beset the path of frugal toil and independent 
thought in this land of freedom. He justly laments the 
prevalence of intemperance, and compares the " Hampshire 
parsons" and their flocks — ^not at all to the advantage of 
either — with the " good, kind people here going to church to 
listen to some decent man of good moral character and of 
sober, quiet life." Despite the narrowness of the partisan 
and the egotism of the innovator, Cobbett, in some respects, 
is one of the more clear and candid reporters who sought to 
enlighten Europe about America. A critical authority in 
agriculture, while denying him scientific range, admits that 
he adorned the subject '^ by his homely knowledge of the art, 
and most agreeable delineation ; " while some of the most es- 
sential social traits, remarkable political tendencies, and emi- 
nent public characters of the United States, have been most 
truly and impressively described by William Cobbett. 

" I visited Parliament House," writes an American from 
London in 1833. ^^The question was the expediency of ab- 
rogating the right, under any circumstances, of impressing 
seamen for her Majesty's navy. Cobbett said but a few 
words, but they went directly to the question : ' One fact on 
this subject claims and deserves the attention of the House. 
The national debt consists of eight hundred millions of 
pounds; and seven hundred thousand of this debt was 
incurred in the war with America, in support of this right 
of impressing seamen.' " 

However coarse the radicalism of Cobbett, there was a 
basis of sense and truth in his intrepid assertion of first prin- 
ciples — ^his recognition and advocacy of elementary political 
justice — ^that just thinkers respect, however uncongenial may 
be the manner and method of the man ; no little of the ofTen- 
flive character thereof being attributable to a baffled and false 


position. An acute German writer ♦ apostrophiised him, not 
inaptly, thus : " Old Cobbett I dog of England ! I do not 
love you, for every vulgar nature is fatal to me ; but I pity 
you from my deepest soul, when I see that you cannot break 
loose from your chain, nor reach those thieves who, laughing, 
slip away their plunder before your eyes, and mock your fruit- 
less leaps and unavailing howls." 

While political reformers of the liberal school, drew argu« 
ments from American prosperity, popular bards gave expres- 
sion to the common vexation, by tauntmg the republic with 
the taint of slavery, though a poisoned graft from the land 
of our origin — as Campbell, in his bitter epigram on the 
American flag — or with sarcasms upon democratic manners, 
as in Moore's ephemeral satire. And yet, when the prospect 
for men with more wit than money, and more learning than 
rank, in Great Britain, was all but hopeless, the Bard of Hope 
could discover no more auspicious home than the land he thus 
sneered at for a local and inherited stain. Alluding to a half- 
formed project of joining his brother in America, and earning 
his subsistence there by teaching, he observes, in a letter to 
Washington Irving : " God knows I love my country, and 
my heart would bleed to leave it ; but if there be a consum- 
mation such as may be feared, I look to taking up my abode 
in the only other land of liberty ; and you may behold me, 
perhaps, flogging your little Spartans in Kentucky into a true 
\sense and feeling of the beauties of Homer." 

Byron, an impassioned devotee of freedom, and disgusted 
by the social proscription his undisciplined and wilful career 
had entailed on him in his native land, turned a gaze of sym- 
pathy toward the West. It is said no tribute to his fame 
delighted him so much as the spontaneous admiration of 
Americans. He was highly gratified when one of our ships 
of war paid him the compliment of a salute in the harbor of 
Leghorn ; and expressed unfeigned satisfaction when told of 
a well-thumbed copy of his poems at an inn near Niagara 



FaUs. Indeed, his restless mind often found comfort in the 
idea of making his home in the United States. Every school- 
boy remembers his apostrophe to this country, in his Ode to 

" One great clime, 
Whose yigorous of&pring by dividing ocean 
Are kept apart, and nursed in the devotion 
Of freedom, which their fathers fought for and 
Bequeathed — a heritage of heart and hand, 
And proud distinction from each other land — 
Yet rears her crest, unconqaered and snblime, 
Above the £bu* Atlantic. She has taught 
Her Esau brethren that the haughty flag, 
The floating wall of Albion^s feebler crag, 
May strike to those whose red right hands have bought 
Rights cheaply earned with blood." 

"One freeman more, America, to thee," Byron would 
have indeed added ; and, had he followed the casual impulse 
and found new inspiration from nature on this continent, and 
outlived here the fever of passion and the recklessness of 
error, how easy to imagine his later manhood and his per- 
verted name alike redeemed by faith and humanity into " %'ic- 
torious clearness." 

A remarkable evidence of the prevalent fashion and feel- 
ing, on the other hand, is to be found in the writings of Tom 
Moore. His Life, so imprudently sent to the press by Lord 
John Russell, exhibits, in his own letters and diaries, as com- 
plete a fusion of the man of the world and the poet — ^if such 
a phenomenon is possible — as can be found in the whole 
range of literary biography. But Moore was a man of fancy 
and music rather than of deep or wide sympathies — a social 
favorite and graceful rhymer, who lived for the drawing 
room and the dinner, and was beguiled by aristocratic hospi- 
talities from that great and true world of humanity wherein 
the true bard finds inspiration. Accordingly, it was to be 
expected that his hasty visit to America should be, as it was, 
made capital for satire and song, in the interest of British 
prejudice. There is so little originality or completeness in 


these desultory notes of his visit, with the exception of two 
finished and melodious lyrics — ''The Lake of the Dismal 
Swamp" and "The Canadian Boat Song" — ^ihat only the 
prestige of his name makes them of present interest. 

Moore arrived at Norfolk, Va., in the autumn of 1803, 
in H. B. M. frigate Phaeton, where he stayed ten days, and 
then went to Bermuda in the " Driver " sloop-of-war. 
Thence he proceeded in the " Boston " to New York ; 
visited Washington and Philadelphia, Canada and Niagara 
Falls. At Bermuda he met Basil Hall, then a midshipman. 
At Washington he had an interview with Jefferson, " whom," 
he writes, " I found sitting with General Dearborn and one 
or two other officers, and in the same homely costume, com- 
prising slippers and Connemara stockings." He enjoyed 
Philadelphia society, and addressed some verses to "Dela- 
ware's green banks'' and "Fair SchuylkilL" He describes 
Buf&lo as a village of wigwams and huts ; and part of his 
journey thence to Niagara he was obliged to perform on 
foot, through a half-cleared forest. On his -arrival, he teDs 
us he lay awake all night listening to the Falls ; and adds, 
" The day following I consider a sort of era in my life ; and 
the first glimpse I caught of that wonderful cataract gave 
me a feeling which nothing in this world will ever awaken 
again." His rhymes intended as " the song of the spirit of 
that region " are not, however, suggestive -of these emotions. 
He spent part of his time with " the gallant Brock," who 
then commanded at Fort George, and, accompanied by him 
and the officers of the garrison, visited the Tuscarora In- 
dians, and witnessed their dances, games, and rites with satis- 
faction. The Falls of the Mohawk also awoke his muse ; and 
he was much delighted at the refusal of the captain of a 
steamboat on Lake Ontario to accept passage money from 
the " poet." Nearly all the period of Moore's sojourn was 
passed with British consuls or army and naval officers. From 
these and the Federalists of Philadelphia, he teUs us, he 
'** got his prejudices " in regard to America. The " vulgarity 
of rancor " in politics, and the " rude familiarity of the lower 


orders,'^ were very offensive to him ; and, alihoagli his oppor* 
tnnities for "cursory observation" were quite limited, he 
found America " at maturity in most of the vices and all the 
pride of civilization." Slavery, of course, is the chief object 
of his satire : of its origin he is silent. The crude state of 
border life, the prevalence of French sympathies, and the 
recklessness of partisan zeal, are among the special defects 
upon which he ironically descants, as usual ascribing them to 
the institutions of the country. He sneers at 

" The embryo capital, where fancy sees 
Squares in morasses, obelisks in trees ; " 

and scornfully declares that 

*' Oolmnbia^s patriot train 
Cast off their monarch that their mob might reign ; " 

and assures his readers 

" I'd ratber hold my beck 
In climes where liberty has scarce been named, 
Nor any right bat that of ruling claimed, 
Than thns to live where bastard Freedom waves 
Her fustian flag in mockery over slaves." 

He begins one of his tirades with 

" Aready in this free and virtuous state, 
Which Frenchmen tell us was ordained by Fate ; " 

and his anti-Gallicism is as obvious as his hatred of the 
** equality and fraternity " principles, which he thinks so de- 
grading. Tet it was here that he saw the picture of domes- 
tic peace and prosperity that prompted the lines, '^ I knew, 
by the smoke that so gracefully curled ; " and the want of 
magnanimity in an Irish bard, in overlooking the blessings 
America has rained upon his countrymen, in flippant com- 
ments on temporary social incongruities, is the more apparent 
from his acknowledgment in the preface to his "Poems 
relating to America," subsequently written : " The good will 
I have experienced from more than one distinguished Ameri- 


can, sufficiently assures me that any injustice I may have 
done to that land of freemen, if not long since wholly for- 
gotten, is now remembered only to be forgiven." 

Even a cursory examination of the British Travels in 
America already noticed, would suggest the facility and de- 
sirableness of a judicious compilation therefrom. It is easy 
to imagine a volume replete with information and attraction, 
gleaned by a discnminatmg hand from such copious but ill- 
digested materials. Omitting the mere statistics and the 
extravagant tales, the egotistical episodes and the coarse 
abuse, there remain passages of admirable description, racy 
anecdotes, and genial speculations enough to form a choice 
picture and treatise on nature, character, and life in the New 
World. It is surprising that such an experiment has not 
been tried by one of the many tasteful compilers who have 
sifted the grain from the chaff in so many other departments 
of popular literature. The attempt, on a small scale, was 
made, in 1810, by one of those clever female writers for the 
young, who, about that period, initiated the remarkable and 
successful department of juvenile literature, since so memo- 
rably illustrated by Maria Edgeworth, Mrs. Barbai^ld, Sir 
Walter Scott, Hans Andersen, and other endeared writers. 
" Excursions in North America, described in Letters from a 
Gentleman and his Young Companions in England," by Pris- 
cilla Wakefield, was a favorite little work among the children 
on both sides of the Atlantic, half a century ago. It is 
amusing to revert to these early sketches, which have given 
to many minds, now mature, their first and therefore their 
freshest impressions of this country. IVIrs. Wakefield drew 
her materials from Jefferson, Weld, Rochefoucault, Bartram, 
Michaux, Car>'er, and Mackenzie, and, in general, uses them 
with tact and taste. The cities and scenery of the land, its 
customs and products, are well described. She notes some 
of the stereotj'ped so-called national vulgarities which have, 
in the more civilized parts of the country, sensibly diminished 
^sinco the indignant protests of travellers reached their acme 
in Mrs. Trollope. " We have been," it is said in one of the 


letters, ^' once or twice to the theatre, but the company in the 
pit have such a disgusting custom of drinking wine or porter 
and smoking tobacco, between the acts, that I have no incli- 
nation to visit it again." 

But the pleasantest parts of her book, especially consider- 
ing for what class of readers it is intended, are those which 
delineate the natural features and productions. Here, for 
instance, we have a description of an indigenous tree, now 
exalted by the selfish and narrow passions of a small and sen- 
sitive community into an emblem of political hate and ungen- 
erous faction. With this association there seems a latent 
satire in the details of the arborescent portrait. " The Pal- 
metto Royal, or Adam's Needle, is a singular tree. They 
grow so thick together, that a bird can scarcely penetrate 
between them. The stiff leaves of this sword plant, stand- 
ing straight out from the trunk, form a barrier that neither 
man nor beast can pass. It rises with an erect stem about 
ten or twelve feet high, crowned with a chaplet of dagger- 
like green leaves, with a stiff, sharp spur at the end. This 
thorny crown is tipped with a pyramid of white flowers, 
shaped like a tulip or lily ; to these flowers succeeds a larger 
fruit, in form like a cucumber, but, when ripe, of a deep 
purple color." 

"We scarcely pass ten or twelve miles," says anothlBr 
of these once familiar letters, " without seeing a tavern, as 
they call inns in this country. They are built of wood, and 
resemble one another, having a porch in front the length of 
the house, almost covered with handbills. They have no 
rign, but take their name from the person that keeps the 
house, who is often a man of consequence ; for the profession 
of an innkeeper is far more respected in America than in 
England. Instead of supplying their guests as soon as they 
arrive, they make everybody conform to one hour for the 
different meals; so you must go without your dinner, or 
delay your journey till the innkeeper pleases to lay the 
doth." This remark on the country taverns as they were 
before the " hotel" had become characterised by size, show, 


and costliness, strikes as as most natural, coming from one 
only acquainted with English inns ; and the independent man- 
ners of the landlords are so obvioas now, that a foreign writer 
declared they and the steamboat captains formed the only 
aristocracy he had encomitered in America; while the cus- 
tom of arbitrarily regulating the hours for meals, and the 
gregarious manner of feeding, led a Sicilian to complain that 
the guests of a public house in this country, were treated like 
fnars in his own. 

A sensible and pleasant but not very profound or methodi- 
cal gentleman of Liverpool published ^^ Remarks during a 
Journey through North America in 1819." This book, writ- 
ten by Adam Hodgson, Esq., was published in this country 
in 1823, and met with a kindly reception on account of the 
well-meaning aim and disposition of the writer, whose na- 
tional prejudices were expressed in a more calm manner than by 
his more vulgar countrymen ; while a tour of seven thousand 
miles had famished him with a good amount of useful knowl- 
edge, not, however, well digested or arrange ; and mingled 
therewith are certain personal tastes and views amusing and 
harmless, that lend a certain piquancy to the narrative. He 
examined the country with an eye to its facilities and pros- 
pects for the emigrant, and thus put on record important sta- 
tistical facts, which are sometimes ludicrously blended with 
matters of no consequence. He so admired the chorus of 
frogs, heard in the stillness of the night at one place of his 
sojourn, that he opened his window to listen to their croak- 
ing, mistaking it, at first, for the notes of birds. He ex- 
pressed the most naive surprise at finding a copy of the 
"Dairyman's Daughter" at a shop in Mobile; and was so 
nervous in regard to the safety of his baggage, when travel- 
ling by stage coach, that he used a chain and padlock of his 
own, and held the cue thereof. He enjoyed Southern hos- 
pitality, which, however, was sadly marred, to his conscious- 
ness, by slaveholding. He dined on turkey every day for 
weeks, with apparently undiminished relish; and, with 
amusing pathos, laments that the " absence of the privileges of 


primogeniture, and the repeated subdivision of property, are 
gradually effecting a change in the structure of society in South 
Carolina, and will shortly efface its most interesting and charac- 
teristic features.'* " His book," wrote Jared Sparks, " is cred- 
itable to his heart and his principles. We should be glad if 
as much could be said for his discretion and judgment." 

C. W. Janson, " late of the State of Rhode Island," re- 
sided in America from 1793 to 1806, and published in Lon- 
don, the year after the latter date, *' The Stranger in Amer- 
ica," * which the Edinburgh JReview severely criticizes ; while 
John Foster, in the Eclectic^ awarded it much praise. 

Henry Caswell, in 1849, published ^^ America and the 
American Church, with some Account of the Mormons, in 
1842 ; " and Robert Barclay issued " An Agricultural Tour in 
the United States ; " a couple of volumes entitled " Travels 
through Parts of the United States and Canada in 1818-'19," 
and '* A Sabbath among the Tuscaroras," are dedicated to Prof. 
Silliman, of Yale College. A small work appeared anony- 
mously in London (1817), entitled "Travels in the Interior 
of America in 1809, '10, and '11," including a description 
of Upper Louisiana. 

Isaac Holmes, of Liverpool, gave to the public, in 1823, 
^^ An Account of the United States of America, derived from 
Observations during a Residence of Four Years in that 
Republic ; " of which the Qiuxrterly observes that its author 
** is rather diffuse and inaccurate," yet gives " a modest and 
true statement of things as they are." 

A rather verbose work of E. S. Abdy, previously known 
for a hygienic essay, was read extensively, at the time of its 
appearance, though its interest was quite temporary. It de- 
scribed, in detail, a "Residence and Tour in the United 
States in 1833-'34." 

Sir J. Augustus Foster, Envoy to America in 1811-12, 
wrote " Notes on the United States," which were not pub- 
lished, but privately circulated ; although the London Quar- 

* ^ The Stranger in America,** by Charles WiUiam Janson, engrarings, 4to., 
London, 1807. 


<0rfy declared its pnblioation desirable '^ on both sideB of 
the Atlantic ; " and Gk>dle7'8 '^ Letters from Canada and the 
United States,^' published in London in 1814, contains yalu- 
able agricoltoral data, and is justly characterized by the 
critical journals of that day as sensible and impartial* 

There was, indeed, from the dose of the war of 1812, for 
a series of years, an inimdation of English books of travel, 
wherein the United States, their people and prospects, were 
discussed with a monotonous recapitulation of objections, a 
superficial knowledge, and a predetermined deprecation, 
which render the task of analyzing their contents and esti- 
mating their comparative merit in the highest degree weari- 
some. Redeemed, in some instances, by piquant anecdote, 

* Among other works of BriUsh writera of early date worth oonsultiiig are 
Goremor Bernard's Letters; Burton and Oldmixon on the British Empire in 
America ; and of later oommentators, as either amusing, mtelllgent^ ourioos, 
or salient, sometimes flippant and sometimes senmble, may be mentioned Birk- 
beck's ** Notes of a Journey m America m 1817 ; ^ Kingdom's '* Abstract of In* 
fonnaUon relative to the United States" (London, 1820); **Tour m North 
America," by Henry Tudor, Barrister (1834); also the Travels of Bradbury, 
Bhirrefi^ Byam, Casey, Cunningham, Chambers, Davison, FeroU, finch, Head, 
Latrobe, Mackinnon, McNish, Mi^'orbanks, Park, Sturge, Sutcliffe, Thomson, 
Thornton, Tumbull, Tasistro, ShraiT, Warden, Waterton, Warburton, Weston, 
Keating, and Lamber; Dixon, Jameson, Wright, Dickinson, and Pursh; 
Yigne and Qleig's ** Subaltern in America, a Military Journal of the War of 
1812," which originally appeared in Black»ood'$ Moffoxine, vol. zzl ; J. M. Dod^ 
can's Travels (1818); Tremenhere's work on ** The Constitution of the United 
States compared with that of Great Britain ; " Prof. J. F. W. Johnson's ^ Notes 
on North America," chiefly agricultural and econonucal ; Ousley's " Bemaria 
on the Statistics and Political Institutions of the United States ; " the sUtisti> 
cal works of Seyber and Tucker; A.' J. Mason's Lectures on the United 
States (London, 1841); and Flint's ** Letters from America," chiefly devoted 
to the Western States (Edmburgh, 1822), of which it has been said that 
** James Flint was one of the most amiable, accomplished, and truthful foreign 
tourists who have visited America and left a record of their impressions : he 
died in his native country (Scotland^ a few years after his book was pub- 
lished." Two English officers. Colonel Chesney and Lieut-Colonel Frecmantle, 
published brief accounts of what they saw ind gathered from others, in rq^ard 
to the war for the Union — too superficial and prejudiced to have any lasting 
value ; and Mr. Dicey, the young correspondent of a liberal (lOndon journal, 
collected and published a narrative of his experience, candid, but of limited 
scope and insight. 


mterestiiig adyentare, or some grace of style or originality 
of Tiew, they are, for the most part, shallow, egotistical, and 
more or less repetitions of each other. So S3rBtematic and 
ocmtinnons, however, are the tone of abuse and the purpose 
of disparagement, that the subject claims separate considera- 
tion. Among those works that attracted special attention, 
from the antecedents of their aathors or a characteristic 
manner of treating thdr subject, was the once familiar book 
of Captain Basil Hall, R. N., the Journal of Fanny Eemble, 
and the " Notes '* of Dickens. Of the former, Everett justly 
remarked, in the North American Beview^ thaX *^ this work 
will furnish food to the appetite for detraction which reigns 
in Great Britain toward this country;** while even Blaeh- 
wood^s Magazmey congenial as was the spirit of the work to 
its Tory perversities, though characterizing Captain Hall's 
observations as ^'just and profound," dedared they were 
**too much tinctured by his ardent fancy to form a safe guide 
on the many debated subjects of national institutions.'* A 
like protest against the authenticity of ,Fearon, a London 
surgeon, who published ** A Narrative of a Journey of Rve 
Thousand Miles through the Eastern and Western States of 
America,* was uttered by Sydney Smith, who wrote, as his 
critical opinion, that ^^Mr. Fearon is a much abler writer than 
either Palmer or Bradbury, but no lover of America, and a 
little given to exaggerate his views of vices and prejudices ; " 
which estimate was confirmed by the London JRevieuj^ which 
declared that the ^' tone of ill temper which this author usu- 
ally manifests, in speaking of the American character, has 
gained for his work the approbation of persons who regard 
that country with peculiar jealousy." 

So obvious and prevalent had now become this '^ peculiar 
jealousy," that when, in 1833, the flippant *' Obsen^ations on 
the Professions, Manners^ and Emigration in the United 
States and Canada," of the Rev. Isaac Fiddler, appeared, the 

^''KamtiTe of a Joamey of Five Thoiuuid MileB through the Eastern 
•nd Western States, with Kema^ on Hr. Birkbcck*8 Notes,*' bj Heniy B. 
Fearon, Sto., London, 1818. 


North American Review truly said of it : ^^ This is another 
of those precious specimens of books with which John Bull 
is now regularly humbugged three or four times a year." It 
seemed to be deemed essential to every popular author of 
Great Britain, in whatever department, to write a book on 
America. In those instances where this task was adueved 
by men of science, valuable knowledge gave interest to spe- 
cial observation ; as in the cas^ of Lyell, Featherstonaugh, 
and Combe, three writers whose scientific knowledge and 
objects give dignity, interest, and permanent value to their 
works on America: but the novelists signally failed, from 
inaptitude for political disquisition, or a constant eye to the 
exactions of prejudice at home. Marryatt and Dickens 
added nothing to their reputations as writers by their super- 
ficial and sneering disquisitions on America. Yet, however 
philosophically superficial and exaggerated in fastidiousness, 
the great charm of Dickens as an author — ^his humanity, the 
most real and inspiring element of his nature — was. as true, 
and therefore prophetic, in these ^' Notes," as in his delinea^ 
tions of human life. Of the long bane of our civic integrity 
and social peace and purity— of slavery, his words were 
authentic : 

^^ All those owners, breeders, nsers, buyers, and sellers of slaves, 
who will, until the bloody chapter hcu a bloody end, own, breed, use, 
buy, and sell them at all hazards ; who doggedly deny the horrors of 
the system, in the teeth of sach a mass of evidence as never was 
brought to bear on any other subject, and to which the ezperienoe 
of every day contributes its immense amount ; who would, at this or 
any other moment, gladly intolve America in a war, civil or foreign, 
provided that it had for its sole end and object the assertion of their 
right to perpetuate slavery, and to whip, and work, and torture 
slaves, unquestioned by any human authority, and nnassailed by any 
human power ; who, when tbey speak of freedom, mean the free- 
dom to oppress their kind, and to be savage, merciless, and cruel ; 
and of whom every man, on his own ground, in republican America, 
is a more exacting, and a sterner, and a less responsible despot, than 
the Caliph ITaroun Alraschid, in his angry robe of scarlet." 

Of the female writers, there is more reflection and knowl- 


edge in the remarks of Mrs. Jameson and Miss Martineaa ; 
while nothing can exceed the indelicacy and want of insight, 
not to say absurdities, of the Hon. Amelia Murray — other 
books, however, by female writers, are, despite their unjusti- 
fiable personalities, grateful records of hospitalities and ex- 
periences, well enough for private letters. 

The histrionic commentators, like Power and Fanny Kem- 
ble, and the naval annotators,4ike Hall and Mackinnon, are re- 
markable for a certain abandon and superficiality. Silk Buck- 
ingham* much enlarged the previous statistical data, and 
Francis Wyse collected some valuable expositions of America's 
" Realities and Resources." Abdy and Duncan, Finch and 
Graham, Lang and Latrobe, Waterton and Thomson, Palmer 
and Bradbury, Wright and Mellish, with scores of others, 
found readers and critics ; and a catalogue raisonnS of the 
series of books on America between Ashe and Anthony Trol- 
lope, would prove quite as ephemeral in character as volu- 
minous. It is interesting to turn from the glowing impres- 
sions of American scenery, the ingenuous hatred of the 
^^ press gang," and unscrupulous personal revelations of Fanny 
Eemble's "Journal of Travel in America," written in the 
buoyant and brilliant youth of the gifted girl, to the details 
and descriptions of "Life on a Southern Plantation," re- 
corded by the earnest and pitiful woman, and published at so 
critical a moment of our national struggle, to enlighten and 
chide her countrymen. 

One of the most contemptible of the detractors was a 
vulgar English farmer, named Faux, whose "Memorable 
Days in America " was thought worthy of critical recogni- 
tion by the once famous reviewer, Gifibrd. Among the 

• " America, Historical, Statistic, and DescriptiTe,*' 8 toIs. ; " Eastern and 
Western States," 8 vols.; **SUTe States,'' 2 vols.; ** Canada, Nova ScoUa, 
New Brunswick, and other British Provinces," 1 toL ; in all, 9 handsome vols. 
8vo^ by J. S. Buckingham, London, 1841-8. One of the most interestmg 
series of works descriptive of the New Worid which has ever emanated from 
the press. These volumes contain a Aind of knowledge on every subject con- 
nected with America : its rise and progress ; the education, manners, and 
merits of its inhabitants : its nuumfiMStores, trade, popoktion, etc. 


absurd calmnnies of this ignorant scribbler, were snch grave 
statements as that poisoned chickens were served to him at 
Portsmouth ; that the Mississippi boatmen habitually rob the 
sheepfolds; that Boston people take their free negroes to 
Carolina, and sell them as slaves ; SnA that, in America, ^' the 
want of an established religion has made the bulk of the 
people either infidels or fanatics." 

Among the exceptions to that general rule of ignorance 
and crudity which marks the hasty records of American 
travel by English tourists, when a visit to America, while no 
longer adventurous, was yet comparatively rare, is the onoe 
famous book of Captain Thomas Hamilton. The author of 
a successful novel of modem life — as far as literary cultiva- 
tion may be considered an element of success — ^tMs intelli- 
gent British officer claims the consideration which is due to a 
scholar and a gentleman, although he was not the highest 
exemplar of either title. He discussed ^' Men and Manners 
in America " neither as a philosopher nor as an artist. There 
is no great scope or originality in his speculations, no very 
profound insight ; and the more refined tone of his work is 
somewhat marred by the same flippancy and affectation of 
superior taste,' which give such a cockney pertness to so 
many of his countrymen's written observations when this 
country is the theme. Two merits, however, distinguished 
the work and yet make it worthy of attention — a better 
style, and superior powers of description. Ci^tain Hamil- 
ton's prejudices warped his observation of our political and 
social life, and make his report thereof limited and' unjust ; 
but there is a vividness and finish about his accounts of natu- 
ral beauty — such as the description of Niagara and the 10s- 
sissippi — which, although since excelled by many writers, 
native and foreign, at the time (1833) was a refreshing con- 
trast to previous attempts of a like nature. Blackwood 
recognized his political bias in commending the work "as 
valuable at the present crisis, when all the ancient institu- 
tions of our country are successively melting away under the 
powerful solvent of democratic institutions." 


Parkinson was an English farmer, and therefore might 
be supposed capable of producing at least a valuable agricul- 
tural report; but impartial critics declared him both impu- 
dent and mendacious. Stuart's book * owed somewhat of its 
casual notoriety to the circumstance that he fled to America 
because he had killed Lord Auchinleck, Boswell's son, in a 
duel at Edinburgh ; and beguiled months of his involuntary 
exile at Hoboken, N. Y., in writing his experience and im- 
pressions. The Edinburgh Iteview says of another of the 
countless writers on this prolific thelne — Birkbeck : " Detest- 
ing bis principles, we praise his entertaining volume." f . 

Harriet Martineau, through her Unitarian associations, 
became at once, on her arrival in the United States, intimate 
with the leading members of that highly intellectual denomi- 
nation, and thus enjoyed the best social opportunities for 
acquiring a knowledge of the country and a favorable impres- 
sion of its average culture. To this advantage she added 
liberal sympathies, an earnest spirit of inquiry, and a decided 
power of descriptive writing. Accordingly we find, in her 
work, a warm appreciation of what is humane and progres- 
sive in American institutions, right and wise in society, and 
beautiful or picturesque in nature. She often - adopts a view 
and makes a general statement upon inadequate grounds. 
Her generalizations are not always authentic ; but the spirit 
and execution of her work are a vast improvement upon the 
flippant detraction of less intelligent and aspiring writers. 
As in so many instances before and since, her gravest errors, 
both as to facts and reasoning, may be traced to inferences 
from partisan testimony, or the statements of uninformed 
acquaintance — a process which hasty travellers bent on book 
making are forced to have recourse to. Where she observed, 
she recorded effectively ; when her informant was duly 
equipped for his catechism, she " set in a note book " what 
was worth preserving; but often, relying on hearsay evi- 

* "Three Tears in America," by James Stuart, 8 vols., Edinburgh, 1828. 
f "Notes on a Journey from Yliginia to the Territory of lUinois," by Mor. 
lis Birkbeck, with a map^ Sra, DnbUn, 1818. 


dcnoe and casual statements, inevitably mistakes occnrred; 
bat these do not invalidate her argmnents or diminish her 
authority, when fairly provided with the opportunity to ex- 
amine herself, or correctly informed by others. Slackioood 
condemned her book with an asperity that is prima facie 
evidence that it has considerable merit. "Nothing," says 
that trenchant and Tory orade, in reference thereto, " nqjth- 
ing can rectify a reformer's vision, and no conviction of 
inadequacy prevent any of the class from lecturing all man- 

Of this class of books, however, none made so strong a 
popular impression as the " Domestic Manners of the Ameri- 
cans," by Mrs. Trollope — a circumstance that the reader of 
our own day finds it difficult to explain, until he recalls and 
reflects upon the facts of the case ; for the book is superior 
to the average of a like scope, in narrative interest. It is 
written in a lively, confident style, and, before the subjects 
treated had become so familiar and hackneyed, must have 
proved quite entertaining. The name of the writer, how- 
ever, was, for a long period, and still is, to a certain extent, 
more identified with the unsparing social critics of the coun- 
try than any other in the long catalogue of modem British 
travellers in America. Until recently, the sight of a human 
foot protruding over the gallery of a Western theatre was 
hailed with the instant and vociferous challenge, apparently 
undisputed as authoritative, of " Trollope I " whereupon the 
obnoxious member was withdrawn from sight ^ and the in- 
ference to a stranger's mind became inevitable, that this best- 
abused writer on America was a beneficent, practical re- 

The truth is, that Mrs. Trollope's powers of observation 
are remarkable. What she sees, she describes with vivacity, 
and often with accurate skill. No one can read her Travels 
in Austria without acknowledging the vigor and brightness 
of her mind. Personal disappointment in a pecuniary enter- 
prise vexed her judgment ; and, like so many of her nation, 
she thoroughlv disliked the political institutions of the United 
10* " 


States, was on the lookout for social anomalies and personal 
defects, and persistent, like her " unreasoning sex," in attrib- 
uting all that was offensive or undesirable in her experience 
to the prejudice she cherished. Moreover, her experience 
itself was limited and local. She entered the country more 
than thirty years ago, at New Orleans, and passed most of 
thf time, during her sojourn, amid the new and thriving but 
crude and confident Western communities, where neither 
manners nor culture, economy nor character had attained 
any well-organized or harmonious development. The self- 
love of these independent but sometimes rough pioneers of 
civilization, was wounded by the severe comments of a stran- 
ger who had shared their hospitality, when she expatiated on 
their reckless use of tobacco, their too free speech and angu- 
lar attitudes ; but, especially, when all their shortcomings were 
declared the natural result of republican institutions. Hence 
the outcry her book occasioned, and the factitious impor- 
tance attached thereto. Not a single fault is found recorded 
by her, which our own writers, and every candid citizen, have 
not often admitted and complained of. The fast eating, 
boastful talk, transient female beauty, inadequate domestic 
service, abuse of calomel as a remedy, copious and careless 
expectoration, free and easy manners, superficial culture, and 
many other traits, more or less true now as then, here or 
there, are or have been normal subjects of animadversion. 
It was not because Mrs. Trollope did not write much truth 
about the country and the people, that, among classes of the 
latter, her name was a reproach ; but because she reasoned so 
perversely, and did not take the pains to ascertain the whole 
truth, and to recognize the compensatory facts of American 
life. But this objection should have been reconciled by her 
candor. She frankly declares that her chief object is " to 
encourage her countrymen to hold fast by the Constitution 
that insures all the blessings which fiow from established 
habits and solid principles ; " and elsewhere remarks that the 
dogma ^' that all men are born free and equal has done, is 
doing, and will do much harm to this fair country." Her 


sympathies OTerflow toward an English actor, author, and 
teacher she encounters, and she feels a pang at Andre's 
graye ; but she looks with the eye of criticism only on the 
rude masses who are turning the wilderness into cities, re- 
fusing to see any prosperity or progress in the scope and 
impulse of democratic principles. ^'Some of the native 
political economists," she writes, ".assert that this rapid con- 
version of a bearbrake into a prosperous city is the result of 
free political institutions. Not being very deep in such mat- 
ters, a more obvious cause suggested itself to me, in the 
unceasing goad which necessity applies to industry in this 
country, and in the absence of all resources for the idle." 
Without discussing the abstract merits of her theory, it is 
obvious that a preconceived antipathy to the institutions of a 
country unfits even a sensible and frank writer for social criti- 
cism thereon ; and, in this instance, the writer seems to have 
known comparatively few of the more enlightened men, and 
to have enjoyed the intimacy of a still smaller number of the 
higher class of American women ; so that, with the local and 
social data she chiefly relied on, her conclusions are only 
unjust inasmuch as they are too general. She describes well 
what strikes her as new and curious ; but her first impres- 
sions, always so influential, were forlorn. The flat shores at 
the mouth of the Mississippi in winter, the muddy current, 
pelicans, snags, and bulrushes, were to her a desolate change 
from the bright blue ocean ; but the flowers and fruits of 
Louisiana, the woods and the rivers, as they opened to her 
view, brought speedy consolation ; which, indeed, was modi- 
fied by disagreeable cookery, bad roads, illness, thunder 
storms, and unpleasant manners and customs — the depressing 
influence of which, however, did not prevent her expatiating 
with zest and skill upon the camp meetings, snakes, insects, 
elections, house moving, queer phrases, dress, bugs, lingo, 
parsons, politicians, figures, faces, and opinions which came 
within her observation. 

With more perspicacity and less prejudice, she would 
have acknowledged the temporary character of many of the 


&ots of the hour, emphasized by her pen as pennanent. The 
superficial reading she iiotes, for instance, was but the eager 
thirst for knowledge that has since expanded into so wide a 
habit of culture that the statistics of the book trade in the 
United States have become one of the intellectual marvels of 
the age. Her investigation as to the talent, sources of dis- 
cipline, and development, were extremely incurious and 
slight ; hence, what she says of our statesmen and men of 
letters is too meagre for comment. The only American au< 
thor she appears to have known well was Flint; and her 
warm appreciation of his writings and conversation, indicates 
what a better knowledge of our scholars and eminent profes- 
sional men would have elicited from so shrewd an observer. 
The redeeming feature of her book is the love of nature it 
exhibits. American scenery often reconciles her to the bad 
food and worse manners ; the waterfalls, rivers, and forests 
arp themes of perpetual admiration. "So powerful," she 
writes of a passage down one of the majestic streams of the 
West, " was the effect of this sweet scenery, that we ceased 
to grumble at our dinners and suppers." Strange to say, she 
was delighted with the city of Washington, extols the Capi- 
tol, and recognizes the peculiar merits of Philadelphia. In 
fact, when she writes of what she sees, apart from prejudice, 
there are true woman's wit and sense in her descriptions ; but 
she does not discriminate, or patiently inquire. Her book is 
one of impressions — some very just, and others casual. She 
was provoked at being often told, in reply to some remark, 
" That is because you know so little of America ; " and yet 
the observation is one continually suggested by her too hasty 
conclusions. With all its defects, however, few of the class 
of books to which it belongs are better worth reading now 
than this once famous record of Mrs. Trollope. It has a cer- 
tain freshness and boldness about it that explain its original 
popularity. Its tone, also, in no small degree explains its un- 
popularity ; for the writer, quoting a remark of Basil HaU's, 
to the effect that the great difference between Americans and 
English is the want of loyalty, declares it, in her opinion, is.. 


the want of refinement. And it is upon this that she harps 
continually in her strictures, while the reader is offended by 
the identical deficiency in herself; and herein we find the 
secret of the popular protest the book elicited on this side of 
the water ; for those who felt they needed to be lectured on 
manners, repudiated such a female writer as authoritatiye, 
and regarded her iissumption of the office as more than gra- 

The interest excited by many of the now forgotten books » 
at which we have glanced, can only be compared to that 
which attends a new novel by a popular author. Curiosity, 
pique, self-love, and indignation were alternately awakened. 
Hospitable people found themselves outraged, and communic^ 
tive tuft hunters betrayed ; provincial self-complacency was 
sadly disturbed, and the countless readers of the land, for 
weeks, talked only of the coarse comments of Mrs. Trollope, 
the descriptive powers of Captain Hamilton, the kindly views 
of the Hon. Augustus Murray, the conceit of Basil Hall, the 
good sense of Combe, the frankness of Fanny Butler, the 
impertinence of Fiddler, the elaborate egotism of Silk Buck- 
ingham, the scientific knowledge of Featherstonaugh and 
Lyell, the indelicate personalities of Fredrika Bremer, the 
masculine assurance of Miss Martineau, and the ungrateful 
caricatures of Dickens, as exhibited in th*eir respective ac- 
counts of American life, institutions, resources, and manners. 

One of the latest of this class of Travels in America, is 
an elaborate work entitled " Civilized America," by Thomas 
Colley Grattan. Although this writer commences his book 
by defining the Americans " a people easy of access, but diffi- 
cult to understand," and declares that " no one who writes 
about the United States should be considered an oracle," he 
is behind none of his predecessors in the complacency and \/ 
confidence with which he handles a confessedly difficult sub- 
ject. He thinks that " it is in masses that the people of this 
country are to be seen to the greatest advantage;" not 
apparently recognizing the fact that this is the distinctive aim 
of republican institutions — the special compensation for the 


^ absence of those monopolies and that exdnsiTeness whereby 
the indiyidoal in Europe is gratified at the expense of the 
mnltitude. He notes the '^ sacrifice of individual eminence, 
^ and consequently of personal enjoyment " — a result of the 
same spirit of humanity which cherishes manhood and woman- 
hood as such, and, therefore, cheerfully loses the chance of 
indiyidual aggrandizement, in so far as it implies superiority 
to and inMnunity from the universal and equal development 
or opportunity therefor, whether of character, talent, material 
welfare, or social position. Our educational system, public 
men, some of the current political problems and parties, the 
Irish in America, relations between England and the United 
States, slavery, and other general subjects, are treated of 
with little originality, but occasionally illustrated by facts 
which to a British reader may be new and suggestive. The 
old sarcasms about the bad architecture in our cities, and the 
limited triumphs in art and literature yet achieved ; the usual 
sentimental protest against the slight local attachments, the 
hrary, and the unrecreative habits and want of taste that 
prevail ; the hackneyed complaint of im scientific re^men, 
with especial reference to the indigestible nature of dough- 
nuts, salt fish and chowder; and the baneful variety of 
alcoholic drinks, and their vulgar names, diversify the grave 
discussion of questions of polity and character. 

It is surprising that a native of Great Britain should find 
punctuality at meals and the condition of women in Amer- 
ica themes of animadversion ; and that conceit and flippancy 
should strike him as so common on this side of the water ; 
and narrowness of mind, as well as the want of independ- 
ence, be regarded as characteristic. In these and several 
other instances, the reader familiar with life and manners in 
England, and alive to the indications of character in style 
and modes of thought, cannot but suspect him of drawing 
upon his experience at home and his own consciousness, quite 
as much as from intelligent observation here. At all events, 
it is obvious that he is piqued into indignation by some spe- 
cial experience of his own while British Consul in Boston ; 


which either his sjinpathies or his magnanimitj reyolye. 
Great ameliorations have occurred in "Civilized America" 
since Mr. Grattan left her shores. Nothing shows the prog- 
ress of the comitry more emphatically than the obsolete sig- 
nificance of many of his remarks. They often do not apply 
to the United States of to-day ; and both that country and 
the reading public generally have outgrown the need and the 
taste for this kind of petty fault-finding, which fails to com- 
prehend the spirit of the people, the true scope of the insti- 
tutions, the real law of life, labor, and love, whereof the 
communities gathered on this vast and prolific continent are 
the representatives. Not as a nursery of local manners, a 
sphere for casual social experiments, an arena for conven- 
tional development ; but as the scene of a free expansion and 
assertion of the rights of humanity, a refuge for the victims 
of outgrown systems and over-populated countries, a home 
for man as such, a land where humanity modifies and moulds 
nationality, by virtue of the unimpeded range and frank 
recognition thereof, in the laws, the opportunities, the equal 
rights established and enjoyed, is America to be discussed 
and understood ; for her civilization, when and where it is 
truly developed, is cosmopolitan, not sectional — ^human, not 

In 1850, the Earl of Carlisle delivered before the Me- 
chanics' Institute of Leeds a lecture embodying his observa- 
tions and comments during a tour in the United States; 
which was subsequently published and read with much inter- 
est by his lordship's numerous friends on this side of the 
Atlantic. A candid discussion of social defects and political 
dangers is mingled, in this work, with a just appreciation of 
the privileges and prosperity of the country. The American 
edition was widely circulated, and justly estimated as one of 
the most frank, kindly, and intelligent expositions of a 
familiar but suggestive theme, which had yet appeared. 
Though limited in scope, it is unpretending in tone and 
genial in feeling. 


Iq 1862, thirty years after Mrs. Trollope gave to the 
world her opinion of tlie " Domestic Manners of the Ameri- 
cans,^' her son Anthony published his book on "North 
America." * His. novels illustrative of Irish and ecclesiasti- 
cal life, had made his name and abilities as a writer familiar 
on this side of the water. These works of fiction have for 
their chief merit an adhe]:ence to fact. The characters arc 
not modelled on an ideal standard, the incidents are seldom 
extraordinary, and the style is the reverse of glowing. Care- 
ful observation, good sense, an apparentiy conscientious re- 
gard to the truth, make them a singular exception to the 
popular novels of the day. The author is no imaginative 
enthusiast or psychological artist, but he is an intelligent and 
accurate reporter of life as he sees it, of men and things as 
they are; and if the subject interests his reader, he will 
derive very clear and very just ideas of those forms and 
phases of British experience and economy with which these 
books so patiently deal. Mr. Troll ope's account of his visit 
to the West Indies is recognized, by competent judges, as 
one of the most faithful representations of the actual con- 
dition of those islands, and especially of the normal traits 
and tendencies of the negro, which has appeared. Accord- 
ingly, he seems to have been remarkably fitted to record with 
candid intelligence what he saw and felt while visiting North 
America ; and this he has done. The speciality of his book 
is, that it treats of the Rebellion, and is the first elaborate 
report thereof by a British eyewitness. Its defects ai-e those 
of limited opportunities, an unfavorable period, and a super- 
ficial experience warped by certain national proclivities, which 
the feeling at work around him inevitably exasperated ; and 
farther modified by the circumstance that he is a Govern- 
ment employe and an English author. His spirit and intent, 
however, are so obviously manful and considerate, that his 
American readers are disarmed as soon as they are vexed, by 
whatever strikes them as unfair or indiscriminate. Yet, 
friendly as is the sentiment he challenges by his frankness, 
• "North America," by Anthony l^roUope, New York, 1862. 


good sense, and good nature, one cannot avoid feeling some- 
what impatient at the gratuitous tone of criticism, and the 
wearisome repetition and re-discussion of the most familiar 
subjects. If, as Mr. Trollope says, it has been '^ the ambition 
of his literary life to write a book about the United States,'' 
why did he not consult what has already been written, and 
give an adequate period and study to the subject f Scarcely 
a topic upon which he dilates as a grievance, has escaped like 
treatment from scores of his predecessors in this field, and 
been humorously exposed or cleverly discussed by our own 
authors ; and yet he gravely returns to the charge, as if a 
newly discovered social anomaly claimed his perspicacious 
analysis. This unconsciousness of the hackneyed nature of 
the objections to American civilization, or want thereof, is 
the more amusing from a certain tone of didactic responsi- 
bility, common, indeed, to all English writers on America, as 
if that vast and populous country included no citizen or 
native capable of teaching her the proprieties of life and the 
2)rinciples of taste. We are constantly reminded of the re- 
iterating insect who ^^ says an undisputed thing in such a 
solemn way." Inasmuch as Mrs. Trollope, who came here 
thirty years ago to open a bazaar in a newly settled city of 
the West — which speculation failed — " with a woman's keen 
eye," saw, felt, and put " in a note book " the grievous sole- 
cisms in manners and deformities of social life which struck 
her in the fresh but crude American communities, her hones); 
and industrious son now feels it incumbent upon him to com- 
plete the work, as " she did not regard it as part of hers to 
dilate on the nature and operation of those political arrange- 
ments which had produced the social absurdities which she 
saw; or to explain that, though such absurdities were the 
natural result of those arrangements in their newness, the 
defects would certainly pass away, while the political arrange- 
ments, if good, would remain." This, he thinks, is better 
work for a man than a woman, and therefore undertakes to 
do it — not apparently dreaming that it has been and is con- 
tinually being done by those whose lifelong acquaintance 


with the problem, to say nothmg of their personal interest in 
its solution, enables them fuUj to comprehend and clearly to 
analyze. This instinctive self-esteem is apparently the normal 
mood with which even the kindliest and the most sensible 
English travellers comment on America. They do not conde- 
scend to examine the writings of Americans on their own 
comitry, and ignore the fact that the lectures, essays, ser- 
>mons, and humorous sketches of our own authors, have, for 
years, advocated reforms, exposed defects, and suggested 
ameliorations which these self-constituted foreign censors pro- 
claim as original. Mr. Trollope seems extremely afraid of 
giving offence, continually deprecates the idea, and wishes it 
understood that it is very painful to him to find fault with 
anybody or anything in the United States, but he must cen- 
sure as well as blame, and he means no unkindncss. All this, 
however amiable, is really preposterous. It presupposes a 
degree of importance as belonging to his opinions, or rather 
a necessity for their expression, which seems to us quite irra- 
tional in a man of such conmion sense, and who has seen so 
much of the world. It is amusing, and, as a friend re- 
marked, " comes from his blood, not his brain." It is the 
old leaven of self-love, self-importance, self-assertion of the 
Englishman as such. If he had passed years instead of 
jnonths in America, and grown familiar with other circles 
besides the circle of litterateurs who so won his admiration 
in Boston, he would have found all he has written of the 
spoiled children, the hard women, the despotic landlords, dis- 
gusting railway cars. Western swindlers, bad architecture, 
official peculations, mud, dust, and desolation of Washington, 
misery of Cairo, and base, gold-seeking politicians of Amer- 
ica, overheated rooms, incongruous cuiaine, and undisciplined 
juveniles, thoroughly appreciated, perfectly understood, and 
habitually the subject of native protest and foreign report. 
On many of these points his views are quite unemphatic, 
compared to those of educated Americans ; so that his dis- 
cussion of civility V8. servility, of modem chivalry, of the 
reckless element of frontier life, of the unscrupulous ^' smart- 


ter, and the want of privacy and comfort in our gregarions 
hotels, seem to us quite as saperflnoos a task as to inveigh 
in England against fees, taxes, fog, game laws, low wages, 
pauperism, ecclesiastical abuses, aristocratic monopolies, or 
any other patent and familiar eviL 

That '^ necessity of eulogium " which pressed upon Mr. 
TroUope, a» it has upon so many of his countrymen in Amer- 
ica, is regarded as the evidence of extreme national sensitive- 
ness ; but he himself unwittingly betrays somewhat of the 
same weakness — ^if it be such — ^by the deep impression made 
by an individual's remark to his wife, which remark, if made 
seriously to an Englishwoman, must have come from a per- 
son not overburdened with sense ; and if from a man of 
intelligence, doubtless was intended as humorous. In either 
case, it would seem unworthy of notice ; but Mr. Trollope 
refers to it again and again, as if characteristic : '^ I never 
yet met the down-trodden subject of a despot who did not 
hug his chains." Those English flags among the trophies at 
West Point, too, much as he delighted in the picturesque 
beauty of the place, sorely haunted his mind. The fact is, 
that this personal sensibility to national claims and associa- 
tions is the instinct of humanity. Its expression here is more 
prevalent and its exactions more imperative, from the fact 
that, of all civilized countries, our own has been and is the 
chosen theme of criticism, for the reason that it is more 
experimental. In his somewhat disparaging estimate of 
Newport, R. L, Mr. Trollope strangely omits the chief attrac- 
tion, and that is the peculiar climate, wherein it so much 
differs from the rest of the New England coast. He ignores 
this essential consideration, also, in his remarks upon the dis- 
tinctive physiognomy of Americans. Yet such is its influ- 
ence, combined with the active and exciting life of the 
country, that the " rosy cheeks," full habit, and pedestrian 
habitudes of Englishmen, often, after a few years' residence, 
give place to thin jaws and frames, and comparative indiffer- 
ence to exercise : the nervous temperament encroaches upon 


the Banguino ; beef and beer, port and porter, are found too 
nutritive a diet ; and a certain quickness of mind and move- 
niient, and sensibility to physical influences, transform John 
Bull even to his own consciousness. What Mr. Trollope says 
of the American press, whether just or not, comes with an 
ill grace from an Englishman, at a period wherein have been 
so absolutely demonstrated to the world the wilful perversity 
and predetermined falsehood of the leading press of Great 
Britfdn. As in the case of so many of his countrymen, the 
scenery of America proved to Mr. Trollope a compensation 
for her discomforts. Niagara, the White Mountains, the 
Alleghanies, and the Upper Mississippi, are described with 
more enthusiasm than anything else but Boston hospitality. 
Of course, for this feast of beauty, so amply illustrated by 
our writers, he suggests that only Murray can furnish the 
Guide Book. 

It is curious that a man with such an eye for nature, and 
such an inquiring mind, should find the St. Lawrence so 
little attractive, fail to see President Lincoln, and feel no emo- 
tion at the scene of Wolfe's heroic death. Few visitors to 
" the States " have more intelligently appreciated the manli- 
ness of the frontier settlers, the sad patience there bom of 
independent and lone struggling with nature, the immense 
cereal resources of the West, and the process of trans- 
portation thereof at Chicago and Bufialo. He follows his 
predecessors in attributing the chief glory of America to her 
provision for universal education, her mechanical contri- 
vances, and the great average comfort and intelligence. 

'* The one thing/' he remarks, '* in which, as far as my judgment 
goes, the people of the United States have excelled us Englishmen, 
so as to justify them in taking to themselves praise which we cannot 
take to ourselves or refuse to them, is the matter of education ; 
* * '*' and unrivalled population, wealth, and intelligence have 
been the results ; and with these, looking at the whole masses of the 
people, I think I am justified in saying, unrivalled comfort and hap- 
piness. It is not that you, my reader, to whom, in this matter of 
education, fortune and your parents have probably been bountiful, 
would have been more happy in New York than in London. It is 


not that I, who, at any rate, can read and write, have cause to wish 
that I had been an American. Bat it is this : if jon and I can 
count up in a day all those on whom our eyes may rest, and learn 
the circumstances of their lives, we shall be driven to conclude that 
nine tenths of that number would have had a better life as Ameri- 
cans than they can have in their spheres as Englishmen. 

** If a man can forget his own miseries in his joumeyings, and 
think of the people he comes to see rather than of himself^ I think 
he will find himself driven to admit that education has made life for 
the million in the Northern States better than life for the million is 
with us. 

** I do not know any contrast that would be more surprising to 
an Englishman, up to that moment ignorant of the matter, than that 
which he would find by visiting first of all a free school in London, 
and then a free school in New York. ♦ ♦ * The female pupil at 
a free school in London is, as a rule, either a ragged pauper or a 
charity girl, if not degraded, at least stigmatized by the badges and 
dress of the charity. We Englishmen know well the type of each, 
and have a fairly correct idea of the amount of education which is 
• imparted to them. We see the result afterward, when the same girls 
become our servants, and the wives of our grooms and porters. The 
female pupil at a free school in New York is neither a pauper nor a 
charity girl. She is dressed with the utmost decency. She is per- 
fectly cleanly. In speaking to her, you cannot in any degree guess 
whether her father has a dollar a day, or three thousand doUars a 
year. Nor will you be enabled to guess by the manner in which her 
associates treat her. As regards her own manner to you, it is always 
the same as though her father were in all respects your equal. 

** That which most surprises an English visitor, on going through 
the mills at Lowell, is the personal appearan'ce of the men and 
women who work at them. As there are twice as many women as 
there are men, it is to them that the attention is chiefly called. 
They are not only better dressed, cleaner and better mounted in 
every respect than the girls employed at manufactories in England, 
but they are so infinitely snperior as to make a stranger immediately 
perceive that some very strong cause must have created the differ- 
ence. ♦ ♦ ♦ One wonld, of course, be disposed to say that the 
superior condition of the workers must have been occasioned by 
saperior wages ; and this, to a certain extent, has been the cause. 
But the higher payments is not the chief cause. Women's wages, 
including all that they receive at the Lowell factories, average about 
fourteen shillings a week ; which is, I take it, fally a third more 
than women can earn in Manchester, or did earn before the loss of 


the American cotton began to tell upon them. But if wages at Man- 
chester were rused to the Lowell standard, the Manchester woman 
would not be clothed, fed, cared for, and educated like the Lowell 

Charles Lamb aptly says, that the finer in kind things are, 
the more scope there is for individual taste ; and therefore he 
was " always rather squeamish in his women and children." 
Mr. Trollope, judging of the latter by the enfanis terribles 
encomitered at inns and on steamboats in America, describes 
the nuisance of over-imdulged and peremptory "Young 
America" with emphasis; and also draws the line, so re- 
markably obvious in this country, between female refinement 
and vulgarity. He is doubtless right in ascribing the Ama- 
zonian manners and expression of the latter class to that xmi- 
yersal consideration for the sex so peculiar to our people. It 
certainly is abused, and offensively so by the selfish and arro- 
gant. The conduct of Southern women, during the present 
war, to Northern officers, is the best proof of their con- 
sciousness of safety by virtue of this public sentiment of 
deference and protection. But has it ever occurred to Mr. 
Trollope that this sentiment, however abused by those lack- 
ing the chivalry to respond to it, is almost a social necessity 
in a land where people are thrown together so promiscuously, 
and where no ranks exist to regulate intercourse and define 
position? Crinoline and bad manners have, indeed, done 
much to encroach upon romance, and render modem gallantry 
thoroughly conventional; but the extravagant estimation in 
which the rights and privileges of woman are here held, is 
one of the most useful of our social safeguards and sanc- 
tions. Mr. Trollope pays the usual tribute of strangers to 
the beauty, inteUigence, and grace of American women who 
are ladies by nature and not by courtesy ; but he draws the 
reverse picture, not unfaithfully, in this mention of a species 
of the female sex sometimes encountered in a public convey- 

" The woman, as she enters, drags after her a misshapen, dirty 
mass of battered wirework, which she calls her crinoline, and which 


adds as much to her grace and comfort as a log of wood does to a 
donkej, when tied to the animals leg in a paddock. Of this she 
takes much heed, not managing it so that it may be conyeyed up the 
carriage with some decency, but striking it about against men^s legs, 
and heaving it with violence over people^s knees. The touch of a 
real woman's dress is in itself delicate ; bat these blows from a 
harpy^s fins are loathsome. If there be two of them, they talk 
loudly together, having a theory that modesty has been put out of 
court by women^s rights. 

^^ But, though not modest, the woman I describe is ferocious in 
her propriety. She ignores the whole world around her, as she sits 
with raised chin, and face flattened by affectation. She pretends to 
declare aloud that she is positively not aware that any man is even 
near her. ♦ * * But every twist of her body, and every tone of 
her voice, is an unsuccessful falsehood. She looks square at yon in' 
the face, and you rise to give her your seat. You rise from a defer- 
ence to your own old convictions, and from that courtesy which yon 
have ever paid to a woman's dress, let it be worn with ever such 
hideous deformities. She takes the place from which you have 
moved without a word or a bow. She twists herself round, banging 
your shins with her wires ; while her chin is still raised, and her face 
is. still flattened, and she directs her friend's attention to another 
seated man, as though that place were also vacant, and necessarily at 
her disposal. Perhaps the man opposite haajiis own ideas about 
chivalry. I have seen such a thing, and have rejoiced to see it" 

And of the spoiled children he thus discourses : 

" And then the children — babies I should say, if I were speaking 
of English bairns of their age ; but, seeing that they are Americans, 
I hardly dare to call them children. The actual age of these per- 
fectly civilized and highly educated beings may be from three to 
four. One will often see flve or six such seated at the long dinner 
table of the hotel, breakfasting and dining with their elders, and 
going through the ceremony with all the gravity and more than all 
the decorum of their grandfathers. When I was three years old, I 
had not yet, as I imagine, been promoted beyond a silver spoon of 
my own, wherewith to eat my bread and milk in the nursery; and I 
feel assured that I was under the immediate care of a nursemaid, as 
I gobbled up my minced mutton mixed with potatoes and gravy, 

" But at hotel life in the States, the adult infant lisps to the waiter 
fur everything at table, handles his flsh with epicurean delicacy, is 
choice in his selection of pickles, very particular that his beefsteak 
at breakfast shall be hot, and is instant in his demand for fresh ioe 


in his water. But perhaps his— or in this case her — retreat from the 
room when the meal is over, is the chef d'auvre of the whole per- 
formance. The little precocious, full-blown beauty of four signifies 
that she has completed her meal— or is * through ' her dinner, as she 
would express it — by carefully extricating herself from the napkin 
which has been tucked arouod her. .Then the waiter, ever attentive 
to her movements, draws back the chair on which she is seated, and 
the young lady glides to the floor. A little girl in old England would 
scramble down; but little girls in New England never scramble. 
Her father and mother, who are no more than her chief ministers, 
walk before her out of the saloon, and then — she swims after 

The frequent change of occupation, and the hardihood 
with which misfortunes — especially pecuniary reverses — are 
met, impress him. "Everybody," he writes, "understands 
everything, and everybody intends, sooner or later, to do 
everything ; " and, " whatever turns up, the man is still 
there, still unsophisticated, still unbroken." He thinks 
American coachmen the most adroit in the world; the 
houses more convenient than those of England of the same 
class ; the green knolls and open glades of Kentucky more 
like what his countrymen love in a manorial estate, than any 
land or forest elsewhere in the country ; and, of cities, gives 
the preference to Boston and Baltimore — the former on ac- 
count of its culture, and the latter because of its " hunting- 
ground " vicinity, pleasant women, and " English look." It 
is amusing to find him gravely asserting, that " the mind of 
an Englishman has more imagination than that of an Ameri- 
can," and that "squash is the pulp of the pumpkin." He 
thinks we suffer for " a national religion," and have found 
out that " the plan of governing by little men has certainly 
not answered ; " and justly regards it as our special blessing 
to " have been able to begin at the beginning," and so, in 
^lany things, improve upon the Old World. Of Congress 
and Cambridge, Mr. Trollope gives details of parliamentary 
customs and educational habits, indicating wherein they differ 
from those of England. He repeats the old arguments for an 
international copyright. He discusses Canada in her present 


and prospective political relations with singular candor, and 
frankly admits the inferiority of her material development to 
that of the United States. " Everybody travels in Amerieai^' 
he observes, '^ and nothing is thonght of distance.'' In this 
fact he could easily have found the explanation of the dis- 
comforts of American travel, inasmuch as railroads that are 
built to liu-e emigrants to build towns in the wilderness, and 
cars that are intended to convey crowds of all classes, in the 
nature of the case do not admit of those refined arrange- 
ments which make foreign railways so agreeable, and Hie 
absence of which renders most American journeys a penance. 
Among the things which Mr. Trollope, however, finds superior, 
are canvas-back ducks, rural cemeteries, schools, asylums, city 
libraries, waterfalls, maize fields, authors, and women. But 
the special interest of his book is its discussion of the dvil 
war. His own political views seem to us somewhat inconsist- 
ent. Repudiating the military despotism existihg in Franco 
as a wrong to manhood and humanity, he yet thinks '^ those 
Chinese rascals should be forced into the harness of civiliza- 
tion." In allusion to our errors of government, he justly 
remarks, that " the material growth of the States has been 
so quick, that the political has not been able to keep up vrith 
it." In some respects he does justice to the war for the 
Union, asseiting its necessity, and recognizing the disinter- 
ested patriotism of the North, and the wholly inadequate 
reasons put forth by the South for treachery and revolt. Yet 
he fails to grasp the whole subject — treating the exigency as 
political exclusively, and the Rebellion as analogous to that 
of Naples, Poland, and our own Revolution. This is, to say 
the least, i most inadequate and perverse view. Not only 
had the South no vrrongs to redress for which the United 
States Government were responsible, but they violated State 
not less than National rights, in their seizure of property, per- 
secution and murder of loyal citizens, and enforced votes and 
enlistments at the point of the bayonet. Citizens in their 
midst claimed and deserved Federal protection not less than 
those on this side of their lines. Moreover, the '^ landless 


resolutes" of the South proved, in warfare, barbariang in 
sacrilegioas hate ; so that, under any circranstances, it would 
have become a necessity for the North to fortify and defend 
her frontier. These circumstances make an essential differ- 
ence between this Rebellion and other civil wars: they 
aggravate its turpitude, and vindicate the severest measures 
to repress it, irrespective of any question of political union. 
In like manner Mr. Trollope gives but a partial view of the 
feeling of America toward England. It was not sympathy in 
a mere political quarrel, between two equally justified parties, 
that she expected, and was grieved and incensed at not re- 
ceiving. Such a feeling might be immanly, as Mr. Trollope 
thinks, and also unreasonable ; but when, for years, English 
statesmen, travellers, and journalists had taunted us with the 
slavery entailed upon the Southern States in colonial days, 
and by British authority ; and when, at last, we had made 
the first grand step toward limiting, if not undermining the 
evil, and, by doing so, had incurred the hatred, treachery, 
and violence of the slaveholders, we had every reason to 
expect that a Christian nation, akin in blood and language, 
would throw the weight of her influence, social and political, 
into the scale of justice, instead of hastening to recognize the 
insurgents as standing before the world on an equal moral 
and civic footing with a Government and a people they had 
cheated, defied, and were seeking to destroy for no reason 
save the constitutional election of a President opposed to the 
extension of slavery. It was this that created the disappoint- 
ment and inspired the bitterness which Mr. Trollope declares 
so unjust and unreasonable. He compares the struggle to a 
quiM^el between a man and his wife, and with two parties 
throwing brickbats at each other across the street, to the 
great discomfort of neutral passengers. Mr. Gladstone re- 
cently compared it to a difliculty between two partners in 
business, the one wishing to retire from the firm, an^ the 
other attempting to force him to remain. Lord Brougham 
also spoke of a late treaty between England and the United 
States of America to suppress the slave trade, as ^' the treaty 


of the Northern Grovernment." It requires no special candor 
and right feeling to perceive the anifnu9 of such expressions. 
They ignore the true state of the case ; they betray a want 
of respect for historical accuracy, and an indifference, not to 
say contempt, for the Goyemment and people of America, 
only to be explained by a brutal want of Christian sympathy, 
or mean desire to see a great and patriotic nation decimated 
and hmnbled. How sadly do such observations contrast with 
the just and kindly statements of De Glasparin, of John 
Bright, and of John Stuart Mill ! All the solicitude which 
agitated England and America in regard to the capture of 
the rebel envoys, about which Mr. Trollope has so much to 
say, would have been avoided had Great Britam aeted, 
thought, spoken, and felt in this matter with any magnanim- 
ity. To her the safe transit of those Secession commissioners 
was of no importance ; to us it was, at the time, a serious 
misfortune. Their relinquishment, without war threats and 
war preparations, would have cost a friendly and noble nation 
no loss of dignity, no harm to private or public interests. 
The proceeding was assumed to be a premeditated insult, 
whereas it was purely an accident. An insult implies inten- 
tion. In this case, the object of Captain Wilkes was mani- 
festly to perform a duty to his own, not to injure or treat 
with disrespect another country. His act was illegal, but the 
exigency was peculiar. A generous man or woman person- 
ally incommoded by the representative of a just cause, joA 
in the hour of misfortune, where there was no malice, no 
impertinence, but an important end to be achieved at the ex- 
pense of a temporary discourtesy— not real, but apparent— 
would cheerfully waive conventional rights, and, from nobil- 
ity of feeling, subdue or postpone resentment. In social life, 
examples of such forbearance and humane consideration often 
happen ; and though it may be Utopian to apply the same 
ethical code to nations and individuals — ^in the view of a 
Christian or even a chivalric man, such an application of the 
high and holy instincts of our nature is far from irrational. 
In that sacred chart whereon rest the hopes and the faith, the 


precedents and the principles of Christianity — " the spirit we 
are of" is constantly referred to as the test of character and 
the evidence of feeling. Throughout our national sorrows, 
from the inception of this wicked Rebellion, through all its 
oonrse, the spirit of the press and Parliament, the spirit of 
England, as far as it has found official expression, witii a few 
memorable exceptions, have been unjust, disingenuous, and 
inimical; and when the history of this national crisis is 
written, the evidence of this will be as glaring as it is 

Mr. Trollope has lost an opportunity to realize " the am- 
bition of his literary life." His visit was too brief and un- 
seasonable for him to do anything like justice to himself or 
his subject. He visited the West in winter — a comfortless 
period, when nature is denuded of the freshness and beauty 
which at more genial seasons cheer the natural ^'melan- 
choly " ho felt there. He saw the army of the Union in its 
transition state, and beheld the country and the people when 
under the shadow of war, and that war undertaken against 
a senseless and savage mutiny. He rapidly scanned places, 
with no time to ripen superficid acquaintance into intimacy ; 
and he wrote his impressions of the passing scene in the 
midst of hurry, discomfort, and the turbulence and gloom of 
a painfully exciting and absorbing era. Moreover, his forte 
is not political disquisition. Still, the interests involved, the 
moral spectacle apparent, the historical and social elements at 
work, were such as to inspire a humanitarian and enlighten a 
philosopher;' and if unambitious of either character, there 
remained a great duty and noble mission for an English au- 
thor — to correct specifically, to deny emphatically, the cur- 
rent misrepresentations of British statesmen and journals, 
and to vindicate a kindred and maligned people. He has 
told many wholesome truths ; he has borne witness to many 
essential facts about which the British public have hitherto, 
in spite of all evidence, professed utter- incredulity. But he 
might have gone farther and done more, and so made his 
work signally useful now, and fiur more memorable hereafter. 


The Scotch are far more discriminating and Bympathetio 
than the English in their comments and comparisons in re- 
gard to America. The affinity between the North Britons 
and the New Englanders has often been noted. In habits of 
industry, native shrewdness, religious enthusiasm, frugal in- 
stincts, love of knowledge, and many other traits, a parallel 
may be easily traced. We have seen how genial was the 
appreciation of Mrs. Grant in her girlhood, of the independ- 
ence, harmony, and social charms of colonial life in Albany. 
Alexander Wilson both loved and honored the home he found 
on our soil ; and among the Travels in America of recent 
date, which, in their liberal spirit and their sagacity, form 
honorable exceptions to British misrepresentation, are two 
works written by Scotchmen, which our publishers, so ready 
to reproduce books that have the piquancy of abuse or the 
flash of extravagance, with singular want of judgment have 
ignored. The first of these is an unpretending little bro- 
chure, entitled "A Tour in the United States," by Archibald 
Prentice."*? This writer has been a public-spirited citizen and 
an editor in Manchester, and was thus practically fitted intel- 
ligently to examine the economical features of the country. 
Of Covenanter stock, his sympathies were drawn to the Con^ 
necticut clergy ; and the graves of kindred endeared the land 
which he visited in order to examine its physical resources 
with special reference to emigration, manufiEicturcs, trade, and 
labor. He is enthusiastic on entering, on a beautiful day, thie 
harbor of New York, and, with all the zest of a practical 
economist, dwells upon the activity and scope of that com- 
mercial metropolis. "Here," he writes, "bright visions arise 
in the imagination of the utilitarian. He sees the farmer on 
the Hudson, the Mohawk, the Ohio, the Illinois, the Miami, 
and the lakes Michigan, Erie, and Ontario, cheerfully labor- 
ing in his own fields for the sustenance of the Manchester 
spinner and weaver ; he sees the potter of Horsley, the cut- 
ler of Sheffield, the cloth manufacturer of Yorkshire, and the 
sewer and tambourer of Glasgow, in not hopeless or unre> 
• London : Charles Gilpin, 1848. 


warded toiU preparing additioDal comforts and enjoyments 
for the inhabitants of the American woods and prairies. He 
conjures up a great co6perative community, all working for 
mutual benefit; and sees, in the universal competition, the 
nniversal good." He finds the usual defects, as he extends 
his observations — the cheap railroads, the fragile women, the 
over-eagerness for foreign appreciation, the inadequate agri- 
cultural science, and, above all, the monstrous evil — ^political, 
economical,, social, moral, and religious— of slavery. But 
while all these and other drawbacks are emphasized, the 
causes and conditions are frankly stated. This writer ap- 
preciates the favorable relations of labor to capital, and, 
although an anti-protectionist, recognizes cordially the advan- 
tages here reaUzed by honest industry and intelligent enter- 
prise in manufactures and trade. '^ Even the Irishman," he 
writes, "becomes commercial." "The Dlinois coalfields," 
he notes, " are reached by drifts instead of shafts — ^horizon- 
tally, not perpendicularly." He lauds our comparatively 
inexpensive Gk)vemment, the "moral machinery" of our 
manufacturing towns, the harmonious coexistence of so 
many religious sects. He considers the stem virtues bred by 
the hard soil and climate of New England a providential 
school, wherein the character of Western emigration was 
auspiciously predetermined. But Mr. Prentice has as keen 
an eye for the beauties of nature as for the resources of in- 
dustry. He was constantly impressed, not only with the gen- 
eral but with the specific resemblance of American scenery 
to that of Great Britain ; and compares an " opening " in the 
landscape between Baltimore and Washington to " the Esk 
below Langholm;" the view up the Shenandoah to the Clyde 
at Auld-Brig-End, near Lanark ; the blufifs' of the Ohio to 
the "irregular face which Alderley Edge presents Wilm- 
stone ; " and Lake Champlain to Windermere and Ulswater ; 
while he finds the " footway to the Charter Oak, at Hart- 
ford, worn like the path to the martyr's grave in the Old 
Friar's Churchyard in Edinburgh. Although thus warmly 
alive to native associations, he is not less an ardent advocate 


for mutual forbearance and wise fellowship between GSreat 
Britain and America. ^' The citizens of the United States," 
he remarks, ^^do not dislike Englishmen individually. On 
the oontrary, they are rather predisposed to like them, and to 
pay them most kmd and respectful attention when they visit 
America. Their dislike is to John Bull — the traditional, big, 
bullying, borough-mongering and monopolizing John Bull; 
the John Bull as he was at the time of the American and the 
French Revolutions, before Catholic emancipation, before 
the repeal of the Orders in Council, before the Reform Bill." 
And, in conclusion, he thus benignly adjures the spirit of a 
candid mutual appreciation and harmony : ^' Would that men 
in both countries would drop all narrow jealousies, and, look- 
ing to the great mission of the Anglo-Saxon family, earnestly 
resolve that the sole struggle between those of its branches 
only geographically separated, should be which most jealously 
and most energetically should labor to Christianize and civil- 
ize the whole human race." 

The other Scotch writer whose recent observations are 
worthy of that consideration which an honest purpose, ele- 
vated sympathies, and conscientious intelligence, should ever 
secure, is James Stirling,* a member of Parliament, whose 
** Letters from the Slave States," published seven years ago, 
but, strange to say, not reprinted here, feems to have antici- 
pated many of the subsequent political events and social 
manifestations. This writer has evidently made a study of 
economical questions. He has that mental discipline which 
experience, legislative and professional, insures. Firm in his 
opinions, but liberal and humane in spirit, there is a combina- 
tion of sagacity and generous feeling in his tone of mind 
which commands respect. These letters are candid and 
thoughtful ; and, while some of the views advanced chal- 
lenge argument, the general scope is just and wise. Mr. 
Stirling was chiefly struck with the rapidity of growth in the 
American settlements, and records many specific and authen- 

* ** Letters from the Slaye SUtee,*' by James Stirling. LG&don: J. W. 
Parker, 1867. 


tic facte illustratiye of this peculiar feature in, Western civili- 
zation, of which he calls railways ''the soul." The con- 
ditions of success for new communities he regards as, firsts 
an energetic population ; second, fertile soil ; third, favorablo 
climate ; and, fourth, easy means of communication ; and he 
explains the prosperity and the failure of such experiments 
by these conditions. He is opposed to protection and to 
universal suffrage, and finds ample evidence to sustain these 
opinions in his observations in the United States. The sub- 
ject, however, which mainly occupies his attention, is the 
actual influence and effects of slavery, the difficulties in the 
way of its abolition, and the probable consequence of its 
existence upon the destiny and development of the nation. 
His economical argument is strong. He indicates the com- 
parative stagnation and degradation of the Slave States with 
detail, describes the status of the poor whites, notes the his- 
torical facts, and seems to anticipate the climax which three 
years later involved the country in civil war. " The South," 
he writes, '' seems to me in that mood of mind which fore- 
runs destruction ; " and elsewhere observes that " the acci- 
dent of cotton has been the ruin of the negi'o." He recog- 
nizes a '' moral disunion " in the opposition of parties and 
social instincts in regard to slavery. "Like most foreign- 
ers," he observes, " I find it very difficult to appreciate the 
construction of American parties. There is a party called 
the Southern party, which is distinctly in favor of separation. 
It vrill carry along with it, notwithstanding its most insane 
policy, a great proportion of the low white population. 
Opposed to it is the conservative intelligence of the South." 
Mr. Stirling justly regards the " want of concentration " as 
the characteristic defect of American civilization; and re- 
gards the "aristocracy of the South" as almost identical 
with "the parvenu society of the mushroom cities" in 
Britain ; and observes significantly that it is " on the impor- 
tance of cotton to England that the philosophers of the 
South delight to dwell." Indeed, throughout his observa- 
tions on the Slave States, there is a complete recognition of 


the facts and principles which the North has vainly striven 
for months past to impress upon English statesmen ; and this 
testimony is the more valuable inasmuch as it is disinter- 
ested, and was recorded before any overt act of rebellion had 
complicated our foreign relations. Although this writer's 
ezperi^ce in Alabama is more favorable to the social con- 
dition of that State than what fell under the observation of 
Mr. Olmsted, yet the latter's economical statistics of the 
Slave States are amply confirmed by Mr. Stirling. He is 
equally struck with tiie contrast between the two parts of 
the country in regard to providence and comfort. He agrees 
with other travellers in his estimate of popular defects, and 
is especially severe upon the evils of hotel Ufe in the United 
States, and the superficial and showy workmanship which 
compares so unfavorably with substantial English manufac- 
tures. Many of these criticisms have only a local applica- 
tion, yet they are none the less true. Duelling, lynching, 
"hatred of authority," "passion for territory," inadequate 
police, aud reckless travelling, are traits which are censured 
with emphasis. But the charm of these letters consists id 
the broad and benign temper of the writer, when from spe- 
cific he turns to general inferences, and treats of the country 
as a whole, and of its relations to the Old World and to 
humanity. It is refreshing to find united in a foreign .critic 
such a clear perception of the drawbacks to our national 
prosperity and incongruous elements in our national develop- 
ment, with an equally true insight and recognition of the 
individual and domestic rectitude, and the noble and high 
tendencies of life and character. A few random extracts 
will indicate these qualities of the man and merits of the 

"We have experienced, even from niter strangers, an officioas 
kindness and sympathy that can onlj arise from hearts nurtured in 
the daily practice of domestic virtues." 

" I have no fears but that the follies and crudities of the present 
effervescent state of American society will pass away, and leave be* ' 
hind a large residuum of solid worth." 


'* I cannot overlook that latent force of virtne and wisdom, which 
makes itself, as yet, too little felt in public affairs, but which assuredly 
is there, and will come forth, I am convinced, when the hour of trial 
oomes to save the country." 

*' The American nation will wrestle victoriously with these social 
and political hydras." 

Mr. Stirling gives a most true analysis of an American 
popular speaker in his estimate of Beecher. He discrimi- 
nates well the local tndts of the country, calling Florida the 
^^Alsatia of the Union," because it is such a paradise for 
sportsmen and squatters; and explaining the superiority in 
race of the Eentuckians hj their hunting habits and progeni- 
tors. " The little step," he writes, " from the South to the 
North, is a stride from barbarism to dvilization — a step from 
the sixteenth to the nineteenth century." 

Of the physiognomy of the people he says : " You read 
upon the nation's brow the extent of its enterprise and the 
intensity of its desires. The deepest-rooted cause of Ameri- 
can disease is the oyerworking of the brain and the over- 
excitement of the nervous system." 

Equally clear and earnest, humane and noble, is his view 
of the relation of this country to Great Britain : " Never 
were two nations," he writes, " so eminently fitted to aid and 
comfort each other in the vast work of civilization, than Eng- 
land and America." He reproaches Great Britain with her 
indifference, as manifest in sending second-class ambassadors 
to the United States ; and invokes " the spiritual ruler, the 
press," to do its part, " by speaking more generously and 
wisely." If the prescience of this writer is remarkable in 
estimating aright the temper and tendencies of Southern trea- 
son while yet latent, and of Northern integrity and patriot- 
ism before events bad elicited their active development, no 
less prophetic is his appeal to English magnanimity : 

" Why, in God's name, should we not give them every assurance 
of respect and affection ? Are they not onr children, blood of our 
blood and bone of our bone ? Are they not progressive, and fond 
of power, like ourselves ? Are they not our best customers ? Have 


thej not the same old English, manly yirtues ? What is more befit- 
ting for US Englishmen, than to watch with intense stndj and deep- 
est sympathy the momentous strivings of this noble people ? It is 
the same fight we onrselyes are fighting — ^the tme and absolute 
supremacy of Bight. Sorely nothing can more beseem two great 
and kindred nations, than to aid and comfort one another in that 
career of self-ennoblement, which is the end of all national as well 
as individual existence."^ 

* " The stupendous greatness of England is factitious, and will only be* 
come natural when that empire shall have found its real centre : that centre 
is the United States."—" Tke New Jicme ; or, The United States of ths 
World'' (New York, 1848). 

A remarkably bold and comprehensive theory of American progress, 
unity, and empire, by Theodore Poesche and Charles Goepp— one an Ameri- 
canized German, the other a Teutonic philosopher. In this little treatise the 
geography, politics, races, and social oiganization of the United States are 
analysed, and shown to be "at woik upon the fusion of all nations— not of 
this contment alone, but of all continents— into one peojde.^ 



It has often been remarked, that there is a fashion in 
bookcraft, as in every other phase and clement of human 
society ; and the caprices thereof are often as inexplicable 
and fantastic as in manners, costume, and other less intellect- 
ual phenomena. The history of modem literature indicates 
extreme fluctuations of popular taste. Waller and Cowley 
introduced the concetti of the Italians into English verse, 
which, in Elizabeth's reign^ was so preeminent for robust afflu- 
ence ; in Pope's day we had satire and sense predominant ; 
Byron initiated the misanthropic and impassioned style; 
while Steele and Addison inaugurated social criticism, the 
lake poets a recurrence to the simplicity of nature, and the 
Scotch reviewers bold analysis and liberal reform. But the 
uniform tone of books and criticism in England for so many 
years, in relation to America, is oue of those literary phe- 
nomena the cause of which must be sought elsewhere than 
amoDg the whims and oddities of popular taste or the caprice 
of authors. A French writer, at one period, declared it was 
the direct result of official bribery, to stop emigration ; but 
its motives were various, and its origin far from casual or 
temporary ; and the attitude and animus of England during 
the war for the Union, give to these systematic attacks and 
continuous detraction a formidable significance. The Ameri- 
can abroad may have grown indifierent to the derogatory 


facts or fictions gleaned for GalignanCs Messenger^ and 
served up with his daily breakfast ; he may treat the prejudice 
and presumption of English censors with amusing non- 
chalance, when discussing them with an esteemed and kindly 
friend of that race; but the subject assumes a more grave 
aspect, when he finds his country's deadly struggle for nation- 
ality against a selfish and profane oligarchy, understood and 
vindicated by the press of Turin and St. Petersburg, and 
maligned or discouraged by that of London. Cockneyism 
may seem unworthy of andysis, far less of refutation ; but, 
as Sydney Smith remarked by way of apology for hunting 
small game to the death in his zeal for reform, ^^ in a country 
surrounded by dikes, a rat may inundate a province ; '' and it 
is the long-continued gnawing of the tooth of detraction 
that, at a momentous crisis, let in the cold flood at last upon 
the nation's heart, and quenched its traditional love. 

We have seen how popular a subject of discussion were 
American manners, institutions, and character, by British 
writers ; and it is amusing, in the retrospect, to consider with 
what avidity were read, and with what self-confidence were 
written, these monotonous protests against the imperfect 
civilization prevalent in the United States. That there was a 
certain foundation for such discussion, and a relation between 
the institutions of the country and the behavior of its people, 
cannot be denied ; but both were exaggerated, and made to 
pander infinitely more to prejudice than to truth. The same 
investigation applied to other lands in the same spirit, would 
have furnished quite as salient material ; and the antecedents 
as well as the animus of most of these self-appointed cen- 
sors should have absolved their attacks from any power to 
irritate. The violations of refinement and propriety thus 
" set in a note book " were by no means universal. Many of 
them were temporary, and, taken at their best significance, to 
a philosophical mind bore no proportion to the more impor 
tant traits and tendencies which invite the attention and 
enlist the sympathy of lovers of humanity. It is remark- 
able, also, that the most severe comments came from persons 


whose experience of the higher usages and refinements of 
social life was in the inverse ratio of their critical complaints. 
Lord Carlisle fonnd, in the vast social possibilities of this 
country, an interest which rendered him indifferent to the dis- 
comfort and the anomalies to which his own habits and asso- 
ciations might have naturally made him sensitive ; while the 
latter exclusively occupied Dickens, whose early experience 
had made him familiar with the least elegant and luxurious 
facilities of life. The arrant cockneyism and provincial im- 
pertinence of many of these superficial and sensation writers, 
on a subject whose true and grand relations they were incapa- 
ble of grasping, and the mercenary or sycophantic motive of 
many of their tirades, were often exposed ; while in cases 
where incidental popular errors were truly stated, the justice 
of the criticism was acknowledged, and, in some instances, 
practically acted upon. The reckless expectoration, angular 
attitudes, and intrusive cariosity which formed the staple 
reproach, have always been limited to a class or section, and 
are ^ow comparatively rare ; and these and similar superficial 
defects, when gravely treated as national, seem almost devoid 
of significance, when the grand human worth, promise, and 
beauty of our institutions and opportunities as a people, are 
considered and compared with the iron caste, the hopeless 
routine, the cowed and craven stcUica of the masses in older 
and less homogeneous aad unhampered communities. 

We must look far back to realize the prevalent ignorance 
in regard to this country wherein prejudice found root and 
nurture. In colonial days, many bitter and perverse records 
found their way to the press ; and Colonel Barre said to the 
elder Quincy, in England, before the Revolutionary war : 
" When I returned to this country, I was often speaking of 
America, and could not help speaking well of its climate, 
soil, and inhabitants ; but — will you believe it ? — ^more than 
two thirds of the people of this island thought the Ameri- 
cans were all negroes.'' 

Gk>ldsmith's muse, in 1765, warned the impoverished peas- 
ants, eager to seek a new home in the Western hemisphere, 


against perils in America so imaginary, that they uronld pro- 
yoke only smiles bat for the melodious emphasis whereby 
ignorance and error were thus consecrated* 

And after our independence was acknowledged, English* 
men regarded it as a strictly political fact. We were inde- 
pendent of their Government, but not of themselves — the 
least of them assuming superiority, patronage, and critical 
functions, as a matter of course ; so that Americans with any 
intelligence or manliness came inevitably to sympathize with 
Heine's estimate: ''The English blockheads — Ck>d forgive 
them I I often regard them not at all as my fellow b^gs, 
but |bB miserable automata, — ^machines whose motive power is 
egotism." That insular and inevitable trait found expression, 
as regards America, through the Quarterly Reviews, Monthly 
Magazines, and a rapid succession of '' Travek." 

A pregnant cause of temporary alienation, fifty years 
ago, may be recognized in the last war with Great Britain. 
Our naval skill and prowess were a sore trial to the pride of 
Englishmen ; although some of the popular authors of that 
day, like Southey, frankly acknowledged this claim to respect. 
'' Britain had ruled the waves. So her poets sang ; so nations 
felt — all but this young nation. Her trident had laid them all 
prostrate ; and how fond she was of considering this emblem 
as identified with the sceptre of the world I Behold, then, the 
flag which had everywhere reigned in triumph supreme, send- 
ing forth terror from its folds — ^behold it agam and again and 
again lowered to the Stars and Stripes which had risen in the 
new hemisphere I The spectacle was magnificent. The Euro- 
pean expectation that we were to be crushed, was turned into 
a feeling of admiration unbounded. Our victories had a moral 
effect far transcending the number or size of their ships van- 
quished. For such a blow upon the mighty name of Eng- 
land, after many idle excuses, she had, at last, no balm so 
effectual as that it was inflicted and could only have been 
inflicted by a race sprung from herself." * 

* ** Oocasional Productions : Political, Diplomatic, and MiscellaneoaB,'' by 
the late Richard Rush, Philadelphia, 1860. 


Coincident with or ere long succeeding this naval pres- 
tige, our commercial marine advanced in character and pros- 
perity. The cotton of the South became an essential com- 
modity to Great Britain. In I^ew England, manufactures 
were firmly established, with important mechanical improve- 
ments and facilities ; while the Western States became more 
and more the granary of Europe. New territorial acqui- 
sitions, increase of mines, and a system of public instruction, 
which seemed to guarantee an improved generation of the 
middle and lower class — these, and other elements of growth, 
power, and plenty, tended to foster the spirit of rivalry and 
jealous criticism, and to lessen the complacent gaze where- 
with England beheld her long chain of colonial possessions 
begird the globe. Thus a variety of circumstances united to 
aggravate the prejudice and encourage the animadversions of 
English travellers in America, and to make them acceptable 
to their countrymen. And it is a curious fact for the philoso- 
pher, an auspicious one for the humanitarian, that the under- 
current of personal and social goodwill, as regards individu- 
als, of sympathy, respect, and, in many instances, warmer 
sentiments, flowed on uninterrupted; individual friendships 
of the choicest kind, hospitalities of the most frank and gen- 
erous character, mutual interests and feelings in literature, 
religion, philanthropy, and science, consecrated the private 
intercourse and enriched the correspondence of select intelli- 
gences and noble hearts on opposite sides of the Atlantic. 
But the record of the hour, the utterances of the press, were 
as we have seen. 

The importance attached to the swarm of English Travels 
abusive of America, upon calm reflection, appears like a 
monomania; and equally preposterous was the sensitiveness 
of our people to foreign criticism. Their exceptional fast 
eating, inquisitiveness, tobacco chewing, ugly public build- 
ings, sprawling attitudes, and local lingo, were engrossed in 
so huge a bill of indictment, that their political freedom, 
social equality, educational privileges, unprecedented material 
prosperity, benign laws, and glorious country, seemed to 


duink, for the moment, intd inngnificaiioe before the mo- 
notOQOiiB sourrilitj and hopeless aagories of their censors. 
It was not considered that the motiye and method of the 
most of these caustic strictures rendered them innocuous; 
that, to use the test of an able writer in reference to another 
class of narrow minds, they ^ endeavored to atone by miBan- 
thropic accuracy for imbecility in fundamental prindples;** 
that few EngliEdi men or women can write ^n authentic report 
of social and political facts in America, differences of habit 
and opinion therein being more fierce by approximation, 
thereby destroying the true perspective ; add to whidi inabil- 
ity, the miserable cockney spirit, the dependoit and subser- 
vient habit of mind, the underbred tone, want of respect for and 
sympathy with humanity as such, limited powers of obeerva^ 
tion, controlling prejudice, unaccustomed consideration, and 
native brutality, which proclaimed the incompetency and dis- 
ingenuousness of the lowest class of these once formidable 
scribblers ; and we realize why ^^ folly loves the martyrdom 
of fame," and recognize an identical perversion of truth and 
good manners as well as human instincts as, in the ignorant ar- 
rogance which, in their own vaunted land of high civilization, 
incarcerated Montgomery, Hunt, and De Foe, exiled Shelley, 
blackguarded Eeats, and envenoms and vulgarizes literary 
criticisms to-day in the Saturday JSevtew — ^ignoring at home, 
as well as abroad, the comprehensive, the sympathetic, and 
the Christian estimate both of genius, communities, and 

The prevalent feeling in relation to this injustice and un- 
kindness of English writers on America, forty years ago, 
found graceful expression in a chapter*of the Sketch Book, 
the first literary venture heartily recognized for its merits of 
style and sentiment, which a native author had given to the 
^^ mother country." Irving comments on the singular but 
incontrovertible fact, that, while the English admirably re- 
port their remote travels, no people convey such prejudiced 
views of countries nearer home. He attributes the vulgar 
abuse lavished on the United States by the swarm of visitors 


from Great Britain, first, to the misfortone that the worst 
class of English travellers have assumed this task ; secondly, 
to the prejudice against democratic institutions ; thirdly, to 
the lack of comforts in travelling here, whereby the humor is 
rendered splenetic ; fourthly, to disappointed avarice and en- 
terprise ; and, finally, to jealousy, and a degree of considera- 
tion and hospitality to which men of the class of Birmingham 
and Manchester agents, being wholly unaccustomed, they were 
spoiled instead of being conciliated thereby. He descants, 
with a good sense equally applicable to the present hour, 
upon the shortHsighted policy of incurring the resentment of 
a young and growing nation having a common language and 
innumerable mutual interests; and advances the claim whidi 
America possesses to every magnanimous people of Europe, 
as constituting the asylum of the oppressed and unfortunate. 
Since this amiable and just protest was written, the intellect- 
oal progress of the country has been as remarkable as the 
increase of its territory, population, resources, trade, and 
manufactures ; while even the diplomatic conservatives across 
the sea, recognize in the United States a power vitally asso- 
ciated with that traditional '' balance '' whereon the peace and 
prosperity of the civilized world are thought to depend. But 
the improved and enlarged tone of foreign criticism has not 
quelled the original antipathy or prejudice, indifference or 
animosity of England — as the rabid and perverse comments 
of British journals, at this terrible crisis of our national life, 
too sadly demonstrate. The same wilful ignorance, the same 
disingenuous statements, the same cold sneers and defiant sar- 
casms find expression in thcNleading organs of English opin- 
ion to-day, as once mAde popular the shallow journals of the 
commercial travellers and arrogant cockneys ; so that we and 
they may revert to Irving's gentle rebuke, now that he is in 
his grave, and feel, as of old, its strict justice and sad neces- 
sity. Hear him : 

'* Is this golden bond of kindred sjmpathieB, so rare between 
nations, to be broken forever ? Perhaps it is for the best : it may 
diQ>el an illosiop which might have kept us in mental vassalage; 


wbidh might have interfered oooasionaUy with our trae interestSi 
and prevented the growth of proper national pride. But it is hard 
to give up the kindred tie ; and there are feeliogs dearer than inter- 
est, closer to the heart than pride, that will still make ns cast hack a 
look of regret, as we wander farther and farther from the paternal 
roof; and lament the waywardness of the parent that would repel 
the affections of the child." 

And Allston echoed Irving's Beuse and sentiment with 
genial emphasis : 

" While the manners, while the arts, 
That mould a nation^s soul, 
Still ding around our hearts, 
Between let ocean roll, 
Our joint communion hreaking with the sun : 
Tet still from either heach, 
The voice of hlood shall reach, 
More audihle than speech, 
* We are one.' " 

The reader of the present day, whio is inclined to donbt 
the justice of any reference to this contemptible class of 
writers, as representatives of English feeling toward Amer- 
ica, has but to consult the best periodical literature, and note 
the style and imprint of the books themselves, to recognize 
in the fact of their eligible publication and reception, an abso- 
lute proof of the consideration they enjoyed ; and this, be it 
remembered, in spite of the known character and objects of 
the authors, whose position and associations unfitted them for 
social critics and economical reporters such as an intelligent 
gentleman could endure, far less accord the slightest personal 
or literary credit. Ashe is openly described as a swindler ; 
Faux as ^' low ; " Parkinson was a common gardener ; Fearon 
a stocking-weaver. Cobbett, who is the last person to be sus- 
pected of aristocratic prejudices, and was the most practical 
and perverse of democrats, observed, in reading the fasti- 
dious comments of one of these impudent travellers, upon 
an American meal, that it was ^' such a breakfast as the fel- 
low had never before tasted ; " and the remark explains the 
presumption and ignorance of many of this class of writers, 


who, never before having enjoyed the least socifd conBidera- 
tion or private Inxnry, became, like a beggar on horseback, 
intoxicated therewith. 

Even a cursory glance at the catalogue of books thus pro- 
duced will indicate how popular was the theme and how 
audacious the writers. We remember falling in with a clever 
but impoverished professor, several years ago, in Italy, who 
had resided in this country, but found himself in Europe with- 
out means. In obedience to an appeal which reached us, we 
sought his economical lodging, and found him pacing up and 
down a scantily furnished chamber, every now and then seizing 
a pen and rapidly noting the result of hk cogitations. He had 
been offered, by a London publisher, a handsome gratuity to 
furnish, within a specified period, a lively anti-democratic 
book on life and manners in America. The contract, he 
assured us, provided that there should be enough practical 
details, especially in regard to the physical resources of the 
country, to give an air of solid information to the work. 
There were to be a vein of personal anecdote, a few original 
adventures, some exaggerated character painting, and a little 
enthusiasm about scenery : but all this was to be well spiced 
with ridicule ; and the argument of the book was to demon- 
strate the inevitable depreciation of mind, manners, and en- 
joyment under the influence of democratic institutions. The 
poor author tasked his memory and his invention to follow 
this programme, without a particle of conviction in the em- 
phatic declaration of his opinions, or any sympathy with 
the work other than what was derived from its lucrative 
reward. The^ incident illustrates upon what a conventional 
basis the rage for piquant Travels in America rested. 

Contemporary periodical literature echoed constantly the 
narrow comments and vapid faultfinding of this class of 
English travellers, most of whose sneers may be found re- 
peated with zest in the pages of the Quarterly and Bkto!^ 
toood. Somewhat of the personal prejudice of these articles 
is doubtless to 4)0 ascribed to political influences. Then, as 
now, the encroachment of democratic opinions excited the 


alaim of the conservatives. The refoim party had made 
extraordinary advances, and the extension of the right of 
snffirage became the bugbear of the aristocracy. To repre- 
sent the comitry where that right had such unlimited sway, 
as demoralized thereby, became the policy of all but the so- 
called radical writers; and the Reviews, fifty years ago, 
exhibited the worst side of American life, manners, and gov- 
ernment, for the same reason that the Zandon limes and 
JBlacktoood^s Magazine* to-day persist, in the face of truth 
and history, in ascribing the Southern Rebellion to repub- 
lican institutions, instead of their greatest bane and most 
anomalous obstacle on this continent — slavery. Thus the 
organs of literature and opinion encouraged the cockney 
critics in their flippant strictures upon this country, and did 
much to prolong and disseminate them where the English 
language is spoken. But the journals of the United States 
were not less trenchant on the other side. In the North 
American Review^ especially, several of the most presuming 
and ignorant of the books in question were shown up with 
keen and wise irony, and an array of argumentative facts 
that demolished their pretensions effectually. It should be 
remembered, in regard to this period, when expediency, fash- 
ion, and prejudice combined to make our country the favorite 
target of opprobrious criticism in Great Britain, that Amer- 
ica began to excite fears for that " balance of power " which 
was the gauge of political security among the statesmen of 
that day. Moreover, the literary society then and there had 
not been propitiated by success on this side of the water, nor 
its respect excited by the intellectual achievements which 
have since totally reversed the prophecies and the judgments 
of English reviewers; nor ha^ the United States then be- 
come, as now, the nation of readers whose favor it was the 
interest as well as the pride of popular authors abroad to win 

* '* It would perhaps be too much to say that the tendencies of our Consti- 
tution toward democracy have been checked solely by a view of the tattered 
and insolent guise in which republicanism appears in America." — Blaekvoood'i 
Mag., 1862. 


and cherish. In reverting to Bome of the articles which 
proved most offensive and to the tone of all that more or leas 
sanctioned the spirit of vituperative travellers in America, it 
should also be considered that private feeling, in certain 
instances, lent vigor to the critical blows. Some of the 
writers had been annoyed by the intrusion or disgusted with 
the indelicacy of pertinacious and underbred tourists from 
this side of the Atlantic. Many were the current anecdotes 
illustrative of Yankee impudence which the friends of 
Southey, Maria Edgeworth, and Sir Walter Scott used to 
relate — anecdotes that, unfortunately, have found their paral- 
lels since in the experience of Carlyle, Tennyson, and other 
admired living writers. And, although these and their pre- 
decessors have found reason to bless the " nation of bores,** 
as in many instances their roost appreciative and remunerative 
audience, personal pique did and still does sharpen the tone 
and scope of British authorship when America is referred to, 
as in the case of Sydney Smith,* whose investments were 
unfortunate, or Leigh Hunt, whose copyrights were invaded, 
or Dickens and other British lions, who found adulation and 
success less a cause for gratitude than for ridicule; while 
every popular British novelist has a character, an anecdote, 
or an illustration drawn from traditional caricatures of 
American manners and speech. A comprehensive mind and 
a generous heart turns, however, from such ephemeral mis- 
representation and casual reproach as the bookwrights and 
reviewers in question delighted in, not so much vexed as 
wearied thereby ; but it is a more grave reflection upon Eng- 
lish probity and good sense, that so many of her standard 
writers, or those who aspire to be such, are disinclined to 
ascertain the facts of history and social life in America. 

* Kotwithstanding the deserved rebuke he administered to our State 
delinquency in his American letters, Sjdney Smith vindicates his claim to the 
title of Philo-Tankeeist. No British writer has better appreciated the insti- 
tutions and destinj of the United States. He recognized cordiallj the latent 
force of Webster, the noble eloquence of Channing, and the refined scholar- 
ship of Everett, " I will disinherit you," he pkyfully writes to his daughter, 
** if you do not admire everything written by Franklin." 


Saoh wilM errors as those of Lord Mahon and Alison, to 
say nothing of the vast display of ignorance evoked by the 
recent discussion in British journals of the Rebellion in 
America, are utterly unworthy of men of professed candor and 
scholarship in this age. The specific objections to American 
civilization, political and social, emphasized with such zeal 
and unanimity, by certain English writers, are often just and 
true ; but the statement thereof is none the less disingenu- 
ous because the compensatory facts are withheld, and inci- 
dental, particular, and social faults treated as normal and 
national. This kind of sophistry runs through the Travels, 
Journals, and conversation of that illiberal class of British 
critics who, then as now, from policy, prejudice, or personal 
conceit or disappointment, habitually regard every questi<m, 
character, and production of American origin with dislike 
and suspicioii. 

This inveterate tendency to look at things exclusively 
from the point of view suggested by national prejudices, is 
apparent in the most casual notice of American loc^ties. A 
writer in Blachwood'^9 Magazine^* describing his visit to the 
" Cave of the Regicides," at New Haven, is disgusted by 
the difference of aspect and customs there exhibited from 
those familiar to him at the old seats of learning in England; 
and, instead of ascribing them to the simple habits and lim- 
ited resources of the place, with a curious and dogmatic per- 
versity, nnds their origin in political and historical opinions, 
about which the students and professors of Yale care littie 
and know less; as a few quotations from the article will 
indicate : 

'^I suspect the person who leaned over the bulwarks of the 
steamer and gave me the facts, was a dissenting minister going up to 
be at his college at this important anniversary. There was a tone in 
his voice which sufficiently indicated his sympathies. The regicides 
were evidently the calendared saints of his religion." . ♦ ♦ * ^ 

* * ♦ " The streets were alive with bearded and mustached 
youth ; but they wore hats, and flaunted not a rag of surplice or 

• Blackwood's Mag,^ vol Ixi., p. 888. 


gown. They are deroatly eschewed as savoring too much of poperj ; 
nor master, doctor, or scholar appears with the time-honored de- 
cency which, to my antiquated notion, is quite inseparahle from the 
tme regimen of a university/' 

*' It was really farcical to see the good old president confer de- 
grees with an attempt at ceremony, which seemed to have no rubrio 
bat extemporary convenienoe and the despatch of business.'' * * * 

^* In this college one sees the best that Puritanism could produce ; 
and I thought what Oxford and Cambridge might have become, 
under the invading reforms of the usurpation, had the Protectorate 
been less impotent to reproduce itself." 

The memorable papers which first established the repuUi- 
tion of Dickens, curiously indicate the prevalence of this 
deprecatory and venal spirit in English writers on America, 
at a later period. The elder Weller, in suggesting to Sami- 
vd his notable plan for the escape of Pickwick from the 
Fleet prison, by concealing himself in a " planner forty," sig- 
nificantly adds : ^^ Have a passage ready taken for 'Merriker. 
Let the gov'ner stop there till Mrs. Bardell 's dead, and then 
let him come back and write a book about the 'Merrikens 
as'U pay all his expenses, and more, if he blows 'em up 

The preeminence of the British colonies in America early 
proved the Anglo-Saxon destiny of this continent. The long 
wars with the aborigines, and the memorable struggle be- 
tween the French and English, resulting in the confirmed 
possession and sway of the latter rule t and colonies, and, 
finally, the American Revolution and its immediate and later 
consequences, furnish to a philosophic and benevolent mind 
80 remarkable an historical series of events, combining to 
results of 6uch infinite significance, not to this country and 
nation alone, but to the world and humanity, that it is sur- 
prising English speculation and criticism so long continued 
narrow, egotistic, and unsympathizing. Noble exceptions, 
• indeed, are to be remembered. Chatham, the most heroic, 
Burke, the most philosophic of British statesmen, early and 
memorably recognized the claims, the character, and the des« 
tiny of our country ; and many of the intellectual nobility 



of Great Britain, in the flush of yonthM aspirations, baffled 
by political or social exdusiveness, turned their hopes ^and 
their tributes toward the Western continent. But among the 
numerous English visitors who undertook to describe, to illua- 
trate, and to criticize nature, goyemment, and society in the 
United States for the benefit of their countrymen, few have 
proved adequate or just ; and still less is the number who 
rose to the philosophy of the subject. 

Many of the French writers seize upon practical truths of 
universal interest, or evolve the sentiment of the theme with 
zest : either process gives a vital charm to descriptions and 
speculations, and places the reader in a genuine human rela- 
tion with the writer. The same distinction between the Eng- 
lish and French method of treating our condition, history^ 
and character, is observable in the current literature of both 
countries, as well as in the works of their respective travel* 
lers. How rarely in an English writer do we encounter epi- 
sodical remarks so generous in tone as this page from Midie- 
let's littie treatise, " La Mer " : 

*' L^Amcriqne, est le d^sir. Elle est Jenne, et elle briile d'toe en 
rapport avec le globe. Snr son snperbe continent^ et an milieu de 
tant d'fitats, elle se croit poartant solitaire. Si loin de sa mdre 
I'Eorope, elle r^garde vers ce centre de la dvllization, comme la 
terre vers le soleil, et tout ce qni la rapproohe da grand Inminaire la 
fait palpiter, qn'on en jnge par rivresee, par les flutes si toachantes 
anxqnelles donna lien M-bas le t^l^graphe sons-marin qni mariat les 
denx rivages, promettait le dialogue et la r^pliqne par minutes, 
de Borte que les deux mondes n'auraient pins qn'une pens^ I '' 

The historical character of France and England explains 
the discrepancy so evident in their recorded estimate of and 
sentiments in regard to America. The former nation envied 
the Spaniards the renown of their peerless discovery, and 
blamed their king for not having entertained the project of 
Columbus. As a people, they love power more than gain, 
and are ever more swayed by ideas than interest ; whereas, 
in the earliest chronicles of English polity, we find a spirit 
of calculation. On that side of the Channel, we are told, 

266 AmntTOA and hbb oohmentatobs. 

they ^'seldom voted a sabridy without bargaining for a 
right ; " and in a sketch of the wars between the two coun^ 
tries, one of their own writers observes : '^ Oar character at 
that time (1547) was more economical than heroic ; and we 
seldom set onr foot in France, unless on the careful calcula- 
tion of how much the enemy would give us for going away 

This sharp appreciation of material results has had mudi 
to do with the civic prosperity of England, for thereby the 
popular mind has grown alert and efficient in securing those 
privileges in which consists the superiority of the English 
Constitution, and the absence of which enabled Philip Au- 
gustus, Richelieu, and Louis XIV. to establish in France such 
absolute despotism. On the other hand, so exclusive and 
pertinacious a tendency to self-interest is and has proved, in 
the case of England, a serious obstacle to those generous 
national sentiments which endear and elevate a people and a 
Qovemment in the estimation of humanity ; and it is only 
necessary to recall the caricatures of the French, the Dutch, 
the German, and Italian character, which pervade English 
literature, to realize the force of insular prejudice and self- 
oonoentration thus confirmed by national habits and polity. 

"Some years ago," says a popular English writer, "it 
would have been an unexampled stretch of liberality to have 
confessed that France had any good qualities at alL Our 
country was an island — we despised the rest of the world ; 
our county was an island — ^we despised the other shires ; our 
parish was an island, with peculiar habits, modes, and insti- 
tutions ; our households were islands ; and, to complete the 
whole, each stubborn, broad-shouldered, strong-backed Eng- 
lishman was an island by himself, surrounded by a misty and 
tumultuous sea of prejudices." * 

A curious illustration is afforded by the entire series of 

English Travels in America, of this national egotism so 

characteristic of England, which regards foreign countries 

and people exclusively through the narrow medium of self- 

* Ber. James White. 

xvouBH ABTTBB OF AmnqnA, 267 

loye. The tone of these records of a sojourn or an explora- 
tion in America is graduated, ahnpst invariably, as to the 
sympathy or the depreciation, by the relation of the two 
oomitries to each other at difierent times. For a long period 
after the early colonization, so remote and unprofitable was 
the New World, that indifference marks the allusions to, and 
superficiality or contempt the accounts of, those thinly settled 
and unprosperous communities. As they grew in population 
and resources, and glimpses were obtained of a possible 
fbture alike promising to the devotees of gain, of ambition, 
and of political reform and religious independence, English 
writers dwell with complacency upon the natural beauties 
and fertility of the land, upon the prospect here opened for 
enterprise ; and as a colonial tributary to their power and 
wealth, America, or that part of it colonized by the British, 
is described with pride and pleasure; even its sodal traits 
occasionally lauded, and the details of observation and expe- 
rience given with elaborate relish. Especially do we find 
political malcontents at home, and social aspirants or benign 
and intelligent visitors, dwelling upon the novel features and 
free scope « of the country with satisfaction. Immediately 
subsequent to the Revolution, a different spirit is manifest. 
When the choicest jewel of her crown had been wrested 
from the grasp of Great Britain, numerous flaws therein be- 
came at once evident to the critical eyes of English travel- 
lers ; and, though occasionally a reifreshing contrast is afforded 
by the candid and cordial estimate of a liberal writer, the 
disingenuous and deprecatory temper prevails. It is impos- 
sible not to perceive that the rapid growth and unique pros- 
perity of a country gavemed by popular institutions, widiout 
an established church, a royal family, an order of nobility, 
and all the expensive arrangements incident to monarchical 
sway, however free and constitutional, has been and is a 
cause of uneasiness and hatred to a nation of kindred lan- 
guage and character. " Freedom," wrote Heine, " has sprung 
in England from privileges — from historical events. All Eng- 
land is congealed in medisBval, never-to-be-rquvenated institu* 


ti<m8, behind which her aristooraoy is intrenched, awaiting 
fihe death straggle." Hence the example of America has 
been to a'^large political party, to a proud social organisa- 
tion, inaospicioas ; to the popular, the liberal, the democratic 
masses, encouraging. Hence the base jubilee at our recent 
inteinal dissensions, whose root — slavery* — ^was planted by 
the English themselyes. Hence their constant, assertion that 
^ the republic is a failure." 

One of the chief grounds of complaint stated, when the 
Declaration of Independence was first written, against the 
British Gk>yemment, was that it had, contrary to the wishes 
of the colonies, planted African slavery on our soiL Hence 
the extreme baseness of ignoring this primal and positive 
cause of our domestic troubles on the part of writers and 
rulers in England, and striving to make republican institu- 
tions responsible exclusively therefor— a course referable to 
shameful jealousy, aind to the want of cottoti and the desire 
for free trade. In all British history there is no more re- 
markable illustration of what De Tocqueville, whose English 
proclivities and philosophic candor no intelligent reader can 
question, remarked, in one of his letters : • 

** In the eyes of an EngliBhraan, a cause is just if it be the inter- 
leet of England that it shoald succeed. A man or a Qovemment that 
is usefbl to England, has every kind of merit; and one that does 
England harm, every possible fault The eriterion (^ vihaX it honor- 
dble^ or just, utohe found in the degree offeror or of oppoeition to 
English interests. There is much of this everywhere ; but there is 
so much of it in England that a foreigner is astonished.^* 

The mineral wealth and* adaptation of mechanical pro- 
cesses to manufacture, which laid th^ fotmdation of Eng- 
land's commercial prosperity, are no longer a monopoly. 
Identical resources have been elsewhere developed and em- 
ployed, and her productions and enterprise have become, in 
the same proportion, less essential to the industry of the 

"* It was the monopoly of the infamous traffic in negroes, whicn, during the 
ministry of Sir Robert Walpole, so greatly increased the mercantile prosperity 
of Iiondon, and founded that of Bristol and LiTcipooL 


woild. Her power, therefore, in more than one direction, is 
on the wane. But to a liberal and philosopbio mind, the 
grand natural provision for«the subsistence of her imporer- 
ished laborers, and the permanent amelioration of their 
aUxiU8j on this continent, should be regarded as a vast bless- 
ing, not a selfish vexation ; as a cause of ireligious gratitude, 
and not of jealous detraction. Will it not prove a sugges- 
tive anomaly to the rational historian of the wonderful age 
in which we live, when science, letters, adventure, economy, 
education, and travel are makmg human beings every day 
less local and egotistic, and more cosmopolitan and humane, 
in their relations and sentiments — that in such an age, when, 
for the privilege of holding black people in servitude unchat . 
lenged, a class of American citizens rose in arms against 
national authority, the nobles of England, and a portion of 
her traders and manufacturers, became the allies of the insur- 
gents ; while the royal family, the starving thousands of Lan- 
cashire — ^who are the real sufferers from the war — and the 
bravest and wisest representatives of the people in Parlia- 
ment, gave to the United States, aud to the cause of justice 
and of freedom, their sympathy, advocacy, and respect? 
The real fear of America in Great Britfdn is of our moral 
influence, which, of course and inevitably, is democratic ; and 
if her detractors in England are pensioned, the working 
class there spontaneously, through faith and hope, attach 
themselves to her cause. 

The superior candor of the French writers on America is 
obvious to the most superficial reader. The urbanity and the 
philosophical tendency of the national mind account for this 
more genial and intelligent treatment ; but the striking differ* 
ence of temper and of scope between the French and English 
Travels in America, is accounted for mainly by the compara* 
live freedom from political and social prejudice on the part 
of the former, and the frequent correspondence of their sen- 
timents with those of the inhabitants of the New World. 
From the descriptions of primeval nature by the early Jesuit 
missionaries to the gallant gossip and speculative enthusiasm 


of the French officers who cooperated in our Reyolutionary 
straggle, a peculiar sympathy with the prospects and affinity 
with the conditions of nature and of life, on this continent, 
inspire the Gbdlic writers. Nor did this partiality or sense 
of justice diminish with the growth of the country. From 
the swarm of dilettante critics and arrogant or shallow au- 
thors of books on the United States, during the last fifty 
years, the only philosophical work wherein the principles of 
democratic institutions are fairly discussed, and their peculiar 
operation in America justly defined, is the standard treatise 
of Alexis de TocqueviUe ; while the first able and eloquent 
plea for our nationality, the first dear and honest recognition 
of the causes and significance of our present civil war from 
abroad, came from* a French publicist What a contrast be- 
tween the considerate argument and noble vindication of De 
Gasparin, and the perverse dogmatism, disingenuous tone, 
and malicious exaggeration of a large part of the English 
periodical press! "We are not just toward the United 
States," says the former. "Their civilisation, so different 
from ours, wounds us in various ways, and we turn from 
them in the ill humor excited by their real defects, without 
taking note enough of their eminent qualities. This country, 
which possesses neither church nor state, nor any government- 
al protection; this country, born yesterday — ^bora under a 
Puritan influence ; this country, without past history, with- 
out monuments, separated from the middle ages by the 
double interval of centuries and beliefs ; this rude country 
of farmers and pioneers, has nothing fitted to please us. It 
has the exuberant life and the eccentricities of youth ; that 
is, it affords to our mature experience inexhaustible subjects 
of blame and raillery." 

This frank statement explains while it does not excuse 
the long tirades of English writers against the crudities of 
our national life : not because these were not often truly re- 
ported, but because the other side ojP the story was omitted. 
Our sensitive pride of country took offence, and thus gave 
new provocation to the "blame and raillery" of which De 


Gasparin speaks* No American familiar with Europe can 
wonder that refined visitors from the Old World to the New 
should find the gregarious habits, the unventilated and promis- 
cuously crowded railway cars, the fragile high-pressure steam- 
boats of the Western rivers, the cuisine^ the flashiness, the con- 
ceit, the hardihood, the radicalism, the costume, the architecture, 
the social-^standards, the money worship, and the countlesa 
incongruities, especially on the outskirts of the older settle* 
ments, distasteful, and often revolting ; but it requitos no 
remarkable powers of reflection to understand, and no extra- 
ordinary candor to admit, that many of these repugnant and 
discordant facts are incidental to great and benign innova- 
tions and improvements upon the hopeless social routine and 
organization of Europe ; Uiat they coexist with vast human 
privileges ; that they are compensated for by new and grand 
opportunities for the mass of humanity, however much they 
may trench upon the comfort and sense of decency of those 
accustomed to exclusive privileges and luxury. It is pre* 
dsely because, as a general rule, the French writers recog- 
nize, while so many of the English ignore such palliaticms 
and compensations, in judging of and reporting life in Amep> 
ica, that the former, as a whole, are so much more worthy of 
respect and gratitude. Any shallow vagabond can compare 
disadvantageously the huge and hot caravansaries of West- 
em travel with the first-class carriages of an English railway ; 
the bad whiskey and tough steaks of a tavern in America 
with the quiet country inn and the matchless sirloin and ale 
of old England. The social contrasts are easily made ; the 
defects of manners patent ; but when it is considered that 
what is applied by way of privilege or superiority to a class 
in Europe, is open — ^in a less perfect way, indeed, bnt still 
open — ^to all ; that the average comfort and culture here are 
unequalled in history ; and, above all, that the prospect and 
the principle of civil and social life are established on an equal 
and prosperous basis — the superficial defects, to the eye of 
wisdom and the heart of benevoleAce, sink into comparative 
insignificance. ^'America,'' writes De TocqueviUe, *'is the 


place of al^ others where the Christian religion has preaenred 
the most power over sonls." 

Other reasons for the difference of English and French 
interpretation of American . questions are well stated by a 
recent writer in the Revue des Deux Mondea: 

*^ Frenchmen and Englishmen cannot be impressed alike by what 
is passing in the United States. At the bottom of the quarrel there 
is, it is true, the abolition of slavery, to which the English are de- 
voted by a glorious beginning; but, on the other hand, what relates 
to the United States, awakens in England memories, interests, an- 
tipathies, which can have no parallel in the politics or feelings of 
IVanoe. In the first place, the Star-spangled Banner (le drapeau 
9enU d^Stoiles) is the only flag that France has never met in the coali- 
tion of her enemies. To the English, the United States are always 
the rebellious colony of the past ; to ns, they are a nation whose 
independence we contributed to establish by common victories car- 
ried in the teeth of Britisli obstinacy. For British politics, in spite 
of the accidental importance of cotton, it would bo a satisfaction to 
see the American Union enfeebled by a division. For French polf- 
tics, the breaking up of the American republic, which would destroy 
the balance of maritime power, would be a serious misfortune. The 
English cherish the disdain of an aristocratic race for the republican 
Yankee; democratic France (I) has been enabled to take lessons 
from American democracy, and has more than once made itself en- 
vied by the latter. The two young volunteers who have just en- 
rolled themselves in the army of the North have thus remained 
fidthfbl, in their choice of the cause which tbey would serve, to the 
traditions of their country." 

How nncandid English writers are, even when qnoting 
respectable authorities, is evinced in the remark of a late 
quarterly reviewer, in alluding to De TocqueviUe's hopeful 
views of democracy in America in contrast with the South- 
ern Rebellion : " If he had lived a little longer, what an ex- 
ample of the fallacy of man's profoundest thoughts and 
acntest inference would he himself have mournfully acknowl- 
edged, in the imnatural and incredible convulsion of the 
United States of America ; " whereas, so far from being un- 
natural and incredible, the whole argument of De TocqueviDe 
is prophetic thereof. He knew the incubus of slavery — ^the 
anomaly of local despotism in the heart of a republic— must 


be thrown of^ as a IbathBome disease in the body politio : 
how and when, he did not pretend to say; but still pro- 
claimed his faith in the strength of the Constitution — ^the 
vital power of politioal justice embodied in a democratio 
Government, and a vast, industrious, educated, and religions 
nation — ^to triumph over this accidental' poison, which had 
been allowed to taint the blood but not blast the heart of 
the republic Moreover, this same scientifically humane 
writer beheld, in the triumph of the democratio principle, the 
progress of the race and the will of God ; but he inferred 
not therefrom any roseate dreams of human perfection or 
individual felicity. On the contrary, as the responsibility of 
governing, and the privileges of citizenship expanded and be- 
came confirmed, he saw new claims upon the serious elements 
of life and character ; the need of greater sacrifices on the 
part of the individual ; a necessity for effort and discipline 
calculated to solemnize rather than elate. It is one of the 
most obvious of compensatory facts, that, as we are more 
free to think and to work, we are less able to enjoy, as that 
word is commonly trnderstood. Where occupation is essen- 
tial to respectability, and public spirit a recognized duty, 
pleasure has but infrequent carnival, and duty perpetual vigil. 
With all his elasticity of temperament, the self-dependence 
and the exciting scope of the life of an American tax the 
powers of body and mind as much as they inspire. 

Geographical ignorance, and errors in natural history, in- 
excusable now that so many authentic accounts of the coun- 
try are accessible to all, continue to be manifest even in the 
higher departments of English literature. Goldsmith's melan- 
choly exaggeration of the unhealthy shores of Georgia, in his 
apostrophe to the peasantry, finds a parallel in the tropical 
flowers Campbell ascribes to the valley of Wyoming ; while 
the last Cambridge prize poem places Labrador in the United 
States, and confuses the locality of American rivers with 
more than poetic license. Philosophical keep pace with geo- 
graphical en'ors. Despite the evidence of common sense and 
patent facts, the English press insisted that Mississippi repo- 


diation of State debts was a direct and legitimate result of 
repablican institutions. It now ascribes the slayeholders* 
rebellion to the same cause ; and a religious reiriew of high 
standing recently attributed the high-flown and exaggerated 
style of Parke Custis, in his ^* RecoUeetions of Washington,'' 
to the undisciplined American method of expression. 

Ignorance of the social life incident to republican institn* 
tions betrays itself continually in an indirect manner. In a 
work recently published in London, called the ^^ Book Hunter,'' 
the writer obsenres of a work on American private libraries : 
^^ The statement that there is in Dr. Francis's library a com- 
plete set of the ^ Receuil des Causes C^l^bres,' Ac, would 
throw any of our book knight-errants in convulsions of laugh- 
ter ; " and elsewhere, speaking of thus publishing the cata- 
logue of private libraries, he says : ** That the privacy of our 
ordinary wealthy and middle classes should be invaded in a 
similar shape, is an idea that would not get abroad without 
creating sensations of the most lively horror. They manage 
these things differently across the Atlantic ; and so here we 
have over fifty gentlemen's private collections ransacked and 
anatomized. If they like it, we have no reason to complain, 
but rather have occasion to rejoice in the valuable and inter- 
esting result." How little this writer seems to understand 
that the facts which excite his wonder and disgust are legiti- 
mate results of democratic society, wherein we are accus- 
tomed to forego private for public good, and to liberally 
exchange intellectual privileges! Monopolies are forced to 
yield to the pressure of humane exigencies. It is made 
known that a benevolent physician has a copy of the *^ Causes 
Celebres," not because the work is rare, but that some poor 
scholar may know where he can refer to it ; for in America 
we are bred to the recognition of mutual aid in culture as in 
economy, and, like Sir Thomas Brown, ^^ study for those who 
will not study for themiselves." It may be said of many 
English critics, as was said of a recent traveller in America, 
that, ^* living as he had so long in an atmosphere of country 
houses and parsonages, he is constantly exclaiming against 


tiie abflenoe of those complicated roles of social intercourse 
which have so long engi^ed his attrition.'' 

^*When will the English learn how to write correctly 
about this country?** asks a recent writer. "A very 
Mendly press, the Dailff New8^ reviewing Hawthorne's 
book, says, very compassionately, that our * national life has 
been too short ' for the formation *• of a homog^eous charac- 
ter * among our people. We should like to know what homo- 
geneity there is among the British people, though a thousand 
years old, composed of Welshmen who cannot speak English, 
of Irishmen always in revolt and foirever at enmity with their 
rulers, of Scotchmen who are distinct in dialect, manners, 
and customs, and even now are not too fond of the Sasse- 
nachs ? How much of this is there in the English counties 
of Yorkshire, Kent, Cornwall? The truth is, there is far 
more homogeneity in the United States, notwithstanding its 
short national life, than there ever has been in Great Britain, 
from the time of the heptarchy down.'* 

Much ridicule has been wasted upon our national sensi- 
tiveness to criticism; and the hardUiood and self-love of 
English writers and talkers often repel, as weak and irra- 
tional, the expectation of sympathy which finds utterance in 
every unfortunate crisis on this side of the water. Tet even 
John Bull winced at Hawthorne's choicely worded and 
thoughtfully insinuated hits at his tendency to obesity and 
stagnation. Without defending that natural and honorable 
instinct that cherishes the tie of a common language and 
literature, historical, social, and domestic associations with a 
distant people, in the present age and among enlightened 
nations, it is certainly justifiable to demand scientific obser- 
vation in all those deliberate estimates of a country or a race, 
a government or a cause, wherein mutual and permanent 
interests are concerned. One chief cause of protest and com- 
plaint against British conmientators on America, is their 
ignorance of facts whereof but slight investigation would 
requisitely inform them, and their wilful repudiation of the 
inferences thence resulting. It is a significant truth, that 


throughout, the vast discussion by newspapers, reviews, maga- 
zines, pamphlets, dub and dinner talk, lectures and parlia- 
mentary speeches, which the Southern Rebellion and its con- 
sequences in the United States, have induced in Great Britain, 
scarcely any evidence appears of cognizance and appreciation 
as regards the simple geographical facts of the case ; without 
a knowledge of which it is impossible to perceive the scope 
or judge the merits of this question. Long ago Humboldt 
and other naturalists recognized in the fact that this conti- 
nent is placed between two oceans, the provision and pledge 
of a grand destiny ; long ago economists found, in the re- 
markable number, size, and relative situation of its lakes and 
rivers, the means established by nature to bring together and 
render mutually dependent and helpful the most widely sepa- 
rated regions ; long ago philanthropists hailed in the variety 
of cHmate and the liberal political institutions, a vast asylum 
and arena predestined to shelter and succor the independent 
but proscribed, and the impoverished and hopeless victims of 
over-populated and down-trodden Europe. Yet, when these 
institutions and this prosperous nationality were threatened 
by a minority in the interest of African slavery, and the civil 
war inevitably consequent thereon, challenged the sympathy 
of the world, in order to give a plausible excuse for their 
advocacy of our disunion, the writers and speakers of Eng- 
land, with very rare exceptions, assumed that a geographical 
line isolated the two communities, by kinds of labor, forms 
of society, political and personal interests so in conflict, that a 
peaceable separation was not only practicable, but wise, hu- 
mane, and requisite. Had these malign and specious advocates 
merely ignored the fact that our power and prosperity have 
been the of&pring of our union, it might have been tolerated 
in silence ; but when they refused to acknowledge that this im- 
mense country * known as the United States of North Amer- 

* Its greatest length is from Cape Cod to the Pacific, near lat. 42**, 2,600 
miles; in breadth from Maine to' Florida, 1,600 m. ; there are 8,808 m. of 
frontier toward British America, and 1,466 of that toward Mexico; on the 
ocean the boundary line, indudmg indentations, is 12,609 m. ; the total area 
of the SUtes and Territories in 1858 was 2,968,606 square miles. 


ica IB intergeoted by a moontain range inhabited by a people 
absolutely one in attachment to their Goyemment and devotion 
to free labor, and that the slave interest borders upon, inter- 
sects, and isolates rather than divides this homogeneous and 
patriotic race, so that, to break up the political unity of the 
country is to expose these citizens to the despotic cruelty of 
rebels— to abandon the highest duty of a state and the noblest 
principle of human government, we cannot but fe^l that ig- 
norance degrades or sophistry impugns the honest humanity 
of these ostensible interpreters of public opinion in Britain. 
To illustrate the practical bearing of geographical facts in 
this instance, note the languid of an intelligent native * of 
one of the border States, a kinsman of one of the unprini- 
cipled politicians who fomented, when in office under the Gk>v- 
emment he betrayed, this wicked rebellion : 

" Whoever will look at a map of tbe United States, will observe 
that LonidaDa lies on both sides of tbe Mississippi River, and tbat 
tbe States of Arkansas and Mississippi lie on the right and left banks 
of tbis great stream— eight hundred miles of whose lower course are 
thus controlled by these three States, unitedly inhabited by hardly as 
many white people as inhabit the city of New York. Observe, then, 
the country drained by this river, and its affluents, commencing with 
Missouri on its west bank, and Kentucky on its east bank. There 
are nine or ten powerful States, large portions of three or four oth- 
ers, several large Territories — in all a country as large as all Europe, 
as fine as any under the sun, already holding many more people than 
all the revolted States, and destined to be one of the most populous 
and powerful regions of the earth. Does any one suppose that these 
powerful States, this great and energetic population, will ever make 
a peace that shall put tbe lower course of this single and mighty na- 
tional outlet to the sea in the hands of a foreign Government Uir 
weaker than themselves? If there is any such person, he knows 
little of the past hbtory of mankind ; ond will, perhaps, excuse us 
for reminding him that the people of Kentucky, before they were 
constituted a State, gave formal notice to the Federal Government, 
when General Washington was President, that if the United States 
did not acquire Louisiana, they would themselves conquer it. The 
mouths of the Mississippi belong, by the gift of God, to the inhab- 
itants of its great valley. Nothing but irresistible force can disin* ' 
herit them. 

* Dr. Breckhiridge, of Kentudtj. 


*< Try another territorial aspect of the ease. There is a bed of moun- 
taina abutting on the left bank of the Ohio, which covers all Western 
YirgiDia and all Eastern Kentnckj to the width, from east to west, in 
those two States, of three or four hundred miles. These mountaina, 
stretching sonthwestwardlj, pass entirely through Tennessee, coyer the 
back parts of North Carolina and Georgia, heavily invade the north- 
em part of Alabama, and make a figure even in the back parts of 
Soutii Oarolina aud the eastern parts of Mississippi ; having a course 
of perhaps seven or eight hundred miles, and running far south of 
the northern limit of profitable cotton culture. It is a region of 
eighty thousand square miles, trenching upon eight or nine Slave 
States, though destitute of slaves itself— trenching upon at least five 
Gotten States, though rabing no cotton itself. The western part of 
ICaryland and two thirds of Pennsylvania are embraced in the north- 
eastern continuation of this remarkable region. Can anything that 
passes under the name of statesmanship be more preposterous, than 
the notion of permanent peace on this continent, founded on the 
abnegation of a conunon and paramount Government, and the idea 
of the supercilious domination of the cotton interest and the slave 
trade, over such a mountain empire, so located, and so peopled ? ^ 

When, in the calm and kindliness of meditation, we re- 
member the solemn assemblies of wise and intrepid English 
men and women who, two centuries and more ago, left their 
native shore with tears and prayers, only ^^ comforted to live ^ 
by the thought that they took with them a great principle 
and a cherished faith to transplant and bequeath in another 
hemisphere ; when we recall the proud and fond associations 
with which their descendants sought and yet seek the ances- 
tral homes and gravel of these brave and holy exiles ; and 
how tenderly the traditions, the literature, the laws, and the 
liberties of the Old World have been cherished by the en- 
lightened and earnest natives of the New ; how the kings of 
thought and the heralds of freedom regarded the Anglo- 
Saxon settlements in America, when persecution and strife 
made England to many a perilous sojourn ; how eagerly John 
Milton questioned Roger Williams; how ardently Berkeley 
appealed to Walpole; what Vane and Penn, Calvert, Win- 
throp, Puritan, Churchman, Quaker, Catholic, Huguenot, 
thought, felt, wrote, and did to colonize what to all of them 


was a land of promise ; and how, during the long lapse of 
time, the civilization that originated when the worid had 
reached a period of glorious development, has ever responded 
to and often quiokened that of older date but identical 
duu^cter, like Uie ^^ child of Earth's old age" as she is — ^it 
seems incredible that disdain and indifference, especially in a 
' crisis of national life, should mark and mar nearly all public 
expression in England regarding a country thus morally 
assimilated and historically identified with her. Not strange, 
indeed, that traders and shallow egotists should ignore, or 
sneer at a nation of kindred language and memories ; but 
strange that legislators and writers, who profess to instruct, 
should prove their want of interest by gross ignorance, his- 
torical and geographical. How perversely blind have they 
shown themselves to the facts that the experiment of State 
sovereignty has been fully tried during the perilous interval 
between the acknowledgment of our independence and the 
adoption of the Constitution, whereby industry was par- 
alyzed, fiscal and social confidence lost, and advantage taken 
of the weakness of the isolated fragments of a nation by 
foreign powers ; that federal union, from all this chaos and 
imbecility, created and confirmed a nation whose growth, 
freedom, and self-reliant resources are unparalleled ; that so 
essential, by the laws of nature, is one section to the pros- 
perity of the other, that the chief motive and absolute con- 
dition whereby the new Southwestern States indissolubly 
Unked their destiny and allegiance to the old thirteen, were 
that the free navigation of the Mississippi should be perma- 
nently guaranteed — ^that noble stream, like a main artery, 
vitally connecting the heart with the extremities of the body 
politic ; that what the practical effect is of a faction, how- 
ever large, undertaking illegitimate opposition to a Govern- 
ment based upon popular will, was memorably illustrated by 
Shay's Rebellion in Massachusetts in 1785-'86 ; by the career 
of Citizen Genet in '93 — ^his wild and anomalous partisan 
success, and his ignominious practical failure; by the Vir- 
ginia Resolutions of '85 and '86, by the base and futile con- 


spiraoy of Burr, and the prompt overthrow of Calhoun's 
Bophistical theories. Equally blind to the present as the past, 
the fraud and coerci<Mi whereby the present Rebellion was 
initiated) the inhuman cause for which it was undertaken, the 
despotic violence resorted to for its maintenance, the latent 
barbarism made patent by its career, were aU, from base pol- 
icy or selfish malice, studiously kept out of view by these * 
ostensible interpreters of public opimon. It is, indeed, one 
of those singular exhibitions of the blindness induced by self- 
love, that vitaperation should mark the press of England in 
discussing American institutions, when often, in the identical 
sheet, glares the evidence of her own inadequacy in pro- 
viding for the masses. It is a striking coincidence, that, 
when an American banker * in London desired to indicate his 
interest in and gratitude to the country where he had ac- 
quired a colossal fortune, the best method his sagacious obser- 
vation coidd discover, was to provide homes for the working 
classes, whose physical degeneracy is thus noted in a recent 
issue of the most widely circulated and implicitly trusted 
organ of British opinion : 

" "We have only to take a walk through any of oar popoloas quar- 
ters — Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, the Borough, Lambeth, all the 
river side, Glerkenwell, Gray^s Inn Lane, and those nomerons smaller 
districts of which the working classes, for one reason or another, 

* ** When Mr. Peabodj, the celebrated American banker, who is about to 
quit this country, first heard of the national memorial of the late Prince Con- 
sort, he authorized Sir Emerson Tennent to state that, should that memorial 
be a charitable instituUon, he would give £100,000 toward it ; and his dis- 
appointment was great on learning that the money would not be expended in 
that way. HowcTcr Mr. Peabody, still resolved on carvying out his duuitable 
scheme — as a token, he says, of gratitude to the English nation, for the many 
kind acto he has received from them, and also in memory of his long and 
prosperous career in this country — ^has decided on erecting a number of houses 
for the working class, who, through the inniunerable improvements in the 
metropolis, have been rendered almost homeless. For this purpose he gives 
£100,000, and also undertakes to pay the first year's interest of the money — 
£5,000. Sir Emerson Tennent is appointed one of three trustees ; Lord Stan- 
ley, K. P., it is hoped, will be the second ; the third has not yet been nomi- 
nated.**— XofMfen Paper, 


baye obtained inalienable pofleeadon ; take them st the honra when 
they show— going to their work or retorning from it, or making 
their pm^hases, or cooling themaelTea in the open air : look at them, 
and please remember, that when jon hare deducted half a million 
people rather better off, there remain two millions of the sort yon 
see before yon." 

It wonld prove, indeed, a more ongracioaa than difficult 
task to enumerate social anomalies and characteristic defects, 
quite adequate to counterbalance, in English dvilization, those 
so constantly proclaimed as American. Deans and poachers, 
snobs and weavers, sempstresses and goYcmesses, convicts, 
pretended lunatics, might figure as unchristian monopolists or 
pitiable victims; and poor laws, costly and useless govern- 
mental arrangements, the ravages of gin and beer, the press- 
ure of taxation, the inhumanity of rank and fashion, the 
cold egotism of the social code, the material routine of life, 
the absurd conventionalities, the servility of one class and 
the arrogance of another, the law of primogeniture, ecclesi- 
astical abuses, the hopeless degradation of labor, and numer^ 
ous kindred facts and figures in the economical and social sta- 
tistics of the British realm, not only offer ample range for 
relentless and plausible defamation, akin to that which has 
been so bitterly indulged by English writers on America; 
but the indictment would be confirmed by the testimony of 
popular and current English literature— Crabbe, Hood, Dick- 
ens, Mrs. Gaskell, Reade, and Thackeray having elaborated 
from patent social wrongs their most vivid pictures of human 
suffering and degradation. 

Nor, were the test applied to specific traits, would the 
compaiison be less disadvantageous. The vulgarity and bru- 
tality of an Englishman, when he is vulgar and brutal, are 
unparalleled. The stolidity of their lower class is more re- 
volting than the inquisitiveness of ours. The history of 
England^s criminal code, of her literary criticism, of her 
artists and authors, of her colonial rule, of her aristocratic 
privileges, of her army, naval, and merchant service, has fur- 
nished some of the darkest pictures of cruelty, neglect, self* 


iihness, and abiue of power to be found in the annals of the 

The fitvorite sabject of Punch— the trials of an ^un- 
protected female ^ — ^betrays a national trait in bmtal contrast 
with the habits and sentiments of the kindred people whose 
*' domestic manners " have so long been the subject of their 
sneers. *'Not a day passes,'' remarks an English lady of 
intelligence and character, but without rank or wealth, in 
writing to an American friend, '* but I regret that paradise 
of my sex — your country. There my womanhood alone was 
my safeguard and distinction.'' 

Centuries ago, the very ^' land question " which led to the 
recent controversy whereby the I%me$ was unmasked, o^red 
the same ominous problem to humane and liberal English- 
men, and was, to not a few, the motive of emigration to 

"This land growes weary of her inhabitants," writes 
Winthrop, " soe as man, whoe is the most pretious of all crea- 
tures, is here more vile and base than the earth we treade 
upon. All townes complune of the burthen of theire poore, 
and we use the authoritie of the Law to hinder the increase 
of o^ people by urginge the statute against colleges and in- 
mates. The fountaines of Learning and Religion are soe 
corrupt as (besides the insupportable charge of theire educa- 
tion) most children are perverted. Why, then, should we 
stand striving here for places of habitation, many men spend- 
ing as much labour and coste to recover or keepe sometimes 
an acre or twoe as would procure them many and as good or 
better in another Countrie." ♦ 

Compare this ancient statement with one in a journal of 
this year : 

*' In the main, landed property is still in the same condition in 
England to-day as it was immediately after the Norman conquest 
The foreign invaders at that time divided the land among a small 
number of nobles and brigand captains with the point of the sword ; 

* ** Reasons for the Intended PlaniatioQ in New England,** bj John 
^Vlnthrop, 1S29. life of John Whithrop, bj Bobert 0. Winthrop. 

nrOLDH ABVSX or AlfMBlOA, S88 

and in the Doomsday Book it was then laid down that their right to 
the posseflsion of these lands was as high as heaven and as deep as 
hell, and that the hand of him should wither who woold dare to 
touch it. In course of tune a number of tree proprietors crept in 
between the landholding aristocracy; but subsequent parliamentary 
acts, known as the ' Enclosure Acts,' restricted once more the num- 
ber of ftreo proprietors by forcible expropriation. With the excep- 
tion of a few localities, England possesses no peasantry in the sense 
of France and of Soutiiem and Western Germany. There is only 
the aristocratic proprietor, the steward, or the farming tenant and 
the laborer. The condition of the laborer is worse than anywhere 
in Central or Western Europe. The political power British feudal- 
ism wields is immense. A statistical table shows that, with regard 
to the representation of the people in the so-called House of Com- 
mons, there are about thirty popular constituencies; one hundred 
constituencies slightly influenced by personal or family control, and 
most of them by money ; two hundred and forty eomtUueneiei ahnoit 
wholly under $ueh family and ariitceratie inftuenee; and thirty con- 
stituencies which may be regarded as mere family property.*' 

With such social and political evils — a portentoas report 
whereof, in their actual results apon labor and life, may be 
found in the work of Mr. Eay,* lately published — emigration 
to America has been and is a resource to Great Britain which 
should have engendered gratitude instead of growls. An 
acute French writer attributes to it no small degree of Eng- 
land's prosperity : 

'* Let others denounce, if they will, as culpable want of foreright, 
the energetic multiplication of the English people, and felicitate 
France on being preserved from this misfortune by the demi-sterility 
of marriages ; but, for my part, faithfal to the ancient morality and 
patriotism which regarded a numerous posterity as a blessing from 
God, 1 point out this exhaustion of vital sap as a symptom of malady 
and decline. I see the people who emigrate redouble efforts to fill 
up voids, redouble virtues, savings, and kbor to prepare departures 
and new establishments. Among a people who do not emigrate, I 
see wealth disbursed in the saperfloities of vain luxury ; young men 
idle, without horizons, and without lofty ambition, consuming them- 

* '*The Social Condition and Edacation of the People h» England,** by 
Joseph Kay, Esq., M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, Barrister-at-Law, 
and late Trayelling Bachelor of the Uniyeraity of Cambridge, 12mo., New 
York, 1868. 


mIv«8 in frivoloiis pleasores and pettj oalcnlntions; and familiM 
•lanned at a fecundity whioh would impose on them modest and la- 
borious habits. Like stagnant waters, stagnant populations become 
oorrnpt. Moyed hy this spectacle, I should dread for the sedentary 
race an early degradation, if this inequality revealed a decree of 
Fh>Tidenoe, instead of being a &ult of man/' * 

If from the graver interests we torn to the saperficial 
traits of the English people, it requires little acumen to dis- 
oover materials for ridicule quite as patent and proYOcative 
of satire as the ^'domestic manners of the Americans*' yield. 
Leach and Doyle have long since stereotyped for the public, 
certain traits of physiognomy, costume, and manners, some- 
what monotonous, certainly, but quite as absurd and vulgar 
as any so-called American, characteristic and popularly recog- 
mzed as such. The pronunciation, snobbishness, egotism, 
bad taste, stolidity, and arrogance of different classes are 
thus caricatured. Deference to wealth and rank, perverse 
adherence to obsolete and unjust as well as irrational systems, 
habits, and opinions, in England, are the staple themes of 
satirical novelists, eloquent liberals, and comic draughtsmen ; 
while the " English abroad ^ furnish a permanent subject of 
ridicule to their more vivacious neighbors, and figure habitu- 
aUy in French farces and after-dinner anecdotes. But this 
mode of discussing national character is not less unworthy a 
philosopher than a Christian ; it is essentially one-sided, preju- 
diced, and inhuman. Tet it is worth while to suggest the 
recognized vulnerable points of English life, manners, and 
institutions, that it may be seen how easily their reproach and 
ridicule of Americans can be retaliated. 

But we do not cite such national defects and misfortunes 
in the spirit of retaliation, but simply to indicate how imjust 
and uncharitable it is to regard a country or a people exclu- 
sively in the light of reproach and animadversion, and how 
universal is that law of compensation whereby good and evil 
in every land are balanced in the scale of Divine wisdom. It 

• " Hittoire de l*Emigration an XIX* Sidde, par M. Jules DoTal," Paris, 


is indeed a remarkable evidence of inconsistent and perrers^ 
feelingi that a course which no man of sense and common 
homanity wotdd think of applying to an individtial, is confi- 
dently ' adopted in the discussion of national character and 
destiny. That allowance which the mature in years instinct- 
ively make for the errors of youth — ^the compassion which 
tempers judgment in regard to the indigence, the ignorance, 
or the blind passions of the outcast or the criminal, is 
ignored when the faults or the calamities of a whole people 
are described. Tet such a fearful exposition of '' London 
Labor and London Poor,*' which Mayhew has made familiar, 
should excite only emotions of shame and pity in the Chris- 
tian heart. But the hardihood that so long coldly admitted 
or wantonly sneered at the wrongs of belaud and Italy, gives 
a bitter edge or a narrow comprehension to the class of Eng- 
lish writers on America we have, perhaps too patiently, dis- 

The simple truth is, that there is scarcely a vulnerable 
point in our system, social, political, or religious, but has 
its counterpart in the mother country. For every solecism 
in manners or inhuman inconsistency in practice, growing 
out of democratic radicalism on this side of the water, a 
corresponding defect or incongruity is obvious in the eccle- 
siastical or aristocratic monopolies and abuses on the other. 
For our well-fed African slaves, they have half-starved white 
operatives ; for the tyranny of demagogues here, there is the 
bloated rule of duke and bishop there; for the degraded 
squatter life in regions of whiskey drinking and ague in 
America, there is the not less sad fate of the miner and 
the poacher in the heart of civilized England ; and there is 
reason to believe that, if a philosophical collector of the data 
of suicides, railway catastrophes, and financial swindlers, were 
to be equally assiduous in the United States and Great Bri- 
tain, the figures, in the ratio of space, time, and population, 
would be nearly parallel. Even the philological blunders and 
absurdities over which cockney travellers here have been so 
merry, may be equalled" in many a district of England ; and 


|f the olasflio names ^qplied to new towns on this continent 
savor of tasteless pedantry, a similar lack of a sense of the 
appropriate stares ns in the face in the names of villas in the 
siibnrbs of London; while the same repetition and conse- 
quent confusion of names of places occur in English shires as 
in our States. 

Language has been one of the most prolific sources of 
ridicule and animadversion ; especially those peculiarities of 
tone and speech supposed to belong exclusively to the East- 
em States, and popularly designated as Yankeeisms. Yet it 
has been made obvious at last, that, instead of being indige- 
nous, these oddities of speech, with very few exceptions, 
were brought from England, and are still current in the locali- 
ties of their origin. In the preface to his '^ Dictionary of 
Americanisms,*' Mr. Bartlett tells us that, after having col- 
leoted, he imposed upon himself the task of tracing to their 
source these exceptional words, phrases, and accents. ** On 
comparing these familiar words," he writes, ** with the pro- 
vincial and colloquial language of the northern counties of 
England, a most striking resemblance appeared, not only in 
the words commonly regarded as peculiar to New England, 
but in the dialectical pronunciation of certain words, and in 
the general tone and accent. In fact, it may be said without 
exaggeration, tiiat nine tenths of the colloquial peculiarities 
of New England are derived directly from Great Britain ; 
and they are now provincial in those parts from which the 
early colonists emigrated, or are to be found in the writings 
of well-accredited authors of the period when that emigra- 
tion took pUce." 

Neither has the long-standing reproach of a lack of liter- 
ax7 cultivation and achievement present significance. Syd- 
ney Smith's famous query in the JEdinburgh lUvieWj '* Who 
reads an American book ? 'Ms as irrelevant and impertinent 
to-day as the other famous dictum of Jeffrey in regard to 
Wordsworth's poetry — "This will never do." In history, 
poetry, science, critidsm, biography, political and ethical dis- 
cussions, the records of travels, of taste, and of romance, 


nniyersallj recognized and standard exemplars, of Amerioan 
origin, now illustrate the genius and culture of the nation. 

In thus referring the liberal and philosophical inquirer, 
who desires to comprehend the character, destinies, and his- 
tory of the United States, and thence infer the relation of 
and duty to them on the part of Europe, to the several de- 
partments of literature which bear the impress of the 
national mind, another form of prejudice and phase of ii^us- 
tice habitual with British vniters inevitably suggest them- 
selves. Fifty years ago, American literature was declared by 
them beneath contempt ; but as soon as leisure and encourage- 
ment stimulated the educated and the gifted natives of the soil 
to enter upon the career of authorship ; when the literary 
products of tike country attained a degree of merit that 
could not be ignored, these same critics objected that Ameri- 
can literature was unoriginal— only a new instalment of Eng> 
lish ; that Irving reproduced the manner of the writers of 
Queen Anne^s day ; that Cooper's novels were imitated frcmi 
those of Scott ; that Brockden Brown plagiarized from Gk>d- 
win, Hoffinan from Moore, Holmes fi^m Sterne, Spragoe 
from Pope ; and, in short, that, because Americans made use 
of good English, standard forms of verse, and familiar con- 
struction in narrative, they had no claim to a national litera- 
ture. It seems a waste of time and words to confute suoh 
puerile reasoning. If the number of English authors who have 
written popular books in any and all of the British colonies, 
should have their literary merits questioned on the ground 
that these works, although composed and published in the 
vernacular, were not actually conceived and written in Lon- 
don, the absurd objection would be deemed too ridiculous to 
merit notice. Not only the language, but the culture ; not 
only the political traditions, but the standards of taste, the 
religious and social education, the literary associations, the 
whole mental resource and discipline of an educated Ameri- 
can, are analogous to or identical with those of England; 
but, as a people, the statistics of the book trade and the 
facts of individual culture prove that the master minds of 


British literature more directly and nniversallj train and nur- 
ture the American than the English mind. Partly from that 
distance that lends enchantment, and partly from the vast 
number of readers produced by our system of popular edu- 
cation, Shakspeare and Milton, Bacon and Wordsworth, Byron 
and Scott have been and are more generally known, appre- 
ciated, and loved, and have entered more deeply into the 
average intellectual life, on this than on the other side of the 
Atlantic; and the best thinkers, the most refined poets of 
Great Britain in our own day, find here a larger and more 
enthusiastic audience than they do at home. Accordingly, 
until the laws of mind are reversed, there is no reason to 
expect any different manifestation of literature, as far as 
form, style, and conventional rules are concerned, here than 
there. The subjects, the scenery, the characters, the opinions 
of our historians, poets, novelists, and essayists, are as diverse 
from those of British writers as the respective countries. 
Cooper's local coloring, his chief personages, the scope and 
flavor of his romances, are as unlike those of Scott as are the 
North American Indians from Highlanders, and Lake Onta- 
rio from Loch Leven. The details of Bryant's forest pic- 
tures are full of special traits of which there is not a trace in 
Thomson or Bums. The author of '* Caleb Williams ^' ac- 
knowledged his obligations to the author of *' Weiland " and 
" Arthur Mervyn." There are pages of the " Sketch Book '* 
and '^ Bracebridge Hall ^' which Addison might have written, 
for their subjects are English life and scenes ; but when the 
same graceful pen expatiates, with rich humor, among the 
legends of the Hudson or Dutch dynasties in New York, 
describes the prairies or colonial times in Virginia, except in 
the words used, there is not the slightest resemblance in sub- 
ject, tone, impression, or feeling to the " Spectator." Why 
should Motley write otherwise than Hallam, Prescott than 
Macaulay, Emerson than Carlyle, Channing than Arnold, 
Hawthorne than Kingsley, as regards the technical use of a 
language conmion to them all, and a culture identical in its 
normal elements ? All the individuality to be looked for is 


in the treatment of their several subjects, in the style inci- 
dent to their respective temperaments and characters, and in 
the literary genius with which they are severally endowed. 
Yet, if it were desirable to vindicate the American quality as 
a distinction of these and other approved. authors, it would 
be an easy task to indicate a freedom and freshness, an inde- 
pendence and humanity, so characteristic as to prove singu- 
larly attractive to foreign readers, and to be recognized by 
high continental criticism as national. 

The mercenary spirit so continually ascribed to our civili^ 
zation by English writers, long before was the habitual re- ^ 
proach cast on their own by continental critics. Thrift is a 
Saxon trait, and the '^ nation of shopkeepers ^' cannot appro- 
priately thus make the love of or deference to money our 
exclusive or special weakness; whereas the extreme and 
appalling diversity of condition in England, the juxtapbsition 
of the duke and the drudge, the pampered bishop and the 
starving curate, the magnificent park and the malarious hovel, 
the luxurious peer and the squalid operative, bring into such 
melancholy relief the sharp and bitter inequalities of human 
lives and human creatures, that not all the latent and obvious 
resources, energy, self-reliance, and power which so beguiled 
the wonder and love of Emerson in the aspect of England 
and Englishmen in their prosperous phase, can reconcile that 
social atmosphere to the large, warm, sensitive heart of an 
unselfish, sympathetic. Christian man. Clubs and races, 
cathedrals and royal drawing rooms, the freshness of rural 
and the luxury of metropolitan life, Parliament and the 
Times — all the elements, routine, substantial bases and super- 
ficial aspects of England and the English, however adequate 
to the insular egotism, and however barricaded by prejudice, 
pride, and indifference, do not harmonize, to the clear, humane 
gaze of soulful eyes, with what underlies and overshadows 
this stereotyped programme and partial significance. We 
hear the " cry of the human " that rang so drearily in the ear 
of the noblest woman and poet of the age : 

S90 AnncRioA Ain> hsb ogmmesitatobs. 

'' I am listoDuig here in Rome ; 

Over Alps a voice is sweeping : 
' England 's cruel I Save ns some 

Of these Tictims in her keeping.' " 

'* Let others shout, 

Other poets praise mj land here ; 
I am sodlj setting out, 

Praying, ' God forgive her grandeur I ' " 

Nor less authoritative is the same earnest and truth- 
inspired voice, in its protest against the inhumanity that 
ignores or wilfully repudiates the claims of other nations : 

'' I confess that I dream of the day when an English statesman 
shall arise with a heart too large for England, having courage, in the 
fnoe of his countrymen, to assert of some suggestive policy, * This is 
good for your trade ; this is necessary for yuur domination : hut it 
will vex a people hard by ; it will hurt a people farther off; it will 
profit nothing to the general humanity ; therefore away with it I It 
is not for you or mc.' When a British minister dares so to speak, 
and when a British public applauds him speaking, then shall the 
nation be so glorious, that her praise, instead of exploding from 
within, from loud civic mouths, shall come to her from without, as all 
worthy praise must, from the alliances she has fostered, and firom 
the populations she has saved." * 

Voltaire compared the English to beer — "the bottom 
dregs, the top froth, and the middle excellent." The first 
apd last class, for a considerable period, alone reported ns ; 
low abuse and superficial sneers being their legitimate expres- 
sion, and an inability to understand a people, sympathize with 
an unaccustomed life, or rise above selfish considerations, 
their normal defects; whereof the last three years have 
given memorable proof. 

* Instead of the vague title of Annua JHfirabiiis which 
Dryden bestowed upon a memorable year in English history, 
these might more appropriately be called, as far as our coun- 
try is concerned, the Test Years. Not only have they proved 
the patriotism, the resources, and the character of the people 

* Elizabeth Browning. 


and their institutiong, but they have applied specific tests, the 
result of which has been essentially to modify the convictions 
and sentiments of individuals. Any thinking man who will 
review his opinions, cannot fail to be astonished at the 
changes in his es^iAate of certain persons and thingSi which 
have taken place since the war for the Union began, ifhou- 
sands, for instance, who entertained a certain reverence for the 
leading British journal, simply as such, without any familiar- 
ity therewith, having become acquainted with the T^mea in 
consequence of its gratuitous discussion of our national 
affiurs, and perceiving its disingenuous, perverse, inimical 
spirit toward their country in the hour of calamity ; and, of 
their own personal knowledge, proving its wanton falsehoods, 
have been enlightened so fully, that henceforth the mechani- 
cal resources and intellectual appliances of that famous news- 
paper weigh as nothing against the infamy that attends a dis- 
covered quack.* 

In countless hearts and minds on this continent, pleasant 
and fond illusions in regard to English character, govern- 
ment, and sentiment are forever dispelled, first by the injus- 
tice of the official, and then by the uncandid and inimical 
tone of the literary organs of the British people. There lies 
before us, as we write^ a private letter from an American 
scholar and gentlecCian, who, on the score of lineage as well 
as culture and character, claims respect for his deliberate 
views. What he says in the frank confidence of private 
correspondence, indicates, without exaggeration, the change 
which has come over the noblest in the land : ' Let John Bull 
beware. War or no war, he has made an enduring enemy 
of us. I am startled to hear myself say this, but England is 
henceforth to me only historical — the home of our Shak- , 

* Ck>bden tbiu characterizes the Urnet with reference to its treatment of 
a home question and natire statesmen : ** Here we hare, in a compendious 
form, an exhibition of those qualities of mind which characterize the editorial 
management of the 7\ine9~-o( that arrogant self-complacencj, that logical in- 
coherence, and that moral bewilderment which a too long career of imponitj 
and irresponsibilltj could tlone engender.^' 

29S AUKSOOJl xsd hxb oommentatobs. 

spearci and Milton, and Wordsworth ; for all her best writers 
are ours by necessity and privilege of language : but farewell 
the especial sympathy I have felt in her political, social, and 
total well-being. With her present exhibition and promulga- 
tion of jealousy and selfishness and heartlessness and ungen- 
tlemanly meanness, she has out me loose from the sweet and 
cordial and reverent ties that have kept her so long to me a 
second fatherland.' ' 




obukd; bufpius; beatsfield; kohl; talyi; sghaff. 

In the North of Europe, since the beginning of the pres- 
ent century, French literature has been the chief medium of 
current information in regard to the rest of the world. 
Within the last twenty years the EngliA language has be- 
come a fashionable accomplishment ; and, with the wonderful 
development of German literature, books of science and 
travel, in that language, have furnished the other northern 
races with no small part of their ideas about America. In 
Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, many of our best authors 
have been translated; and the Journal de St. Peterahourg^ 
L ^Abeille du Nbrd, Vedemosti {JBedemoctu)^ during the civil 
war, have, by the accuracy of their facts and the justness of 
their reasoning, evidenced a remarkably clear understanding 
of the struggle, its origin, aim, and consequences. A pleas- 
ant book of "Impressions" during a tour in the United 
States, by Lakieren, a Russian, was published in that lan- 
guage in 1859; and a Swedish writer — Siljestroem* — ^gave 

* "The Educational Institutions of the United States, their Character and 
Organization," translated from the Swedish by Frederica Rowan, London, 


to hi« coontiTineii an able description and exposition of the 
American system of popular education, which is jnstly 
esteemed for its fulness and accuracy ; while the great work 
of Rafn on '^ Northern Antiquities ^ identifies the profound 
researches of a Danish scholar with the dawn of American 

It is refreshing alike to the senses and the soul, to turn 
from the painfully exciting story of those early adventurers 
on this continent, whose object was conquest and personal 
aggrandizement, whose careers, though signalized ofleu by 
heroism and sagacity, were fraught with bloodshed, not only 
in conflicts with the savages, but in quarrels among their own 
followers and rivals, to the peaceful journeys and voyages — 
attended, indeed, with exposure and privation — of those who 
sought the woods and waters of the New World chiefly to 
discover their marvels and enjoy and record them. We find 
in all the desirable reports of explorers, whether men of 
war, diplomacy, or religion, more or less of that observa- 
tion, and sometimes of that love of nature, so instinctively 
active when a new scene of grandeur or beauty is revealed to 
human perception. But these casual indications of either a 
scientific or sympathetic interest in the physical resources of 
the country are but the episodes in expeditions, whose lead- 
ers were too hardy or unenlightened to follow these attrac- 
tions, for their own sake, with zeal and exclusiveness. Other 
and less innocent objects absorbed their nunds; and it is 
chiefly among the missionaries that we find any glowing 
recognition of the charms of the untracked wilderness, the 
mysterious streams, and the brilliant skies, which they strove 
to consecrate to humanity by erecting, amid and beneath them, 
the Cross, which should hallow the flag that proclaimed their 
acquisition to a distant but ambitious monarch. To the natu- 
ralist, America has ever abounded in peculiar interest ; and 

1868. Other SwediBh works on America are G. D. Arfeyedson^B **TrayelB,'* 
(1888) ; GuBtaf Unonccis* ** Recollections of a Residence of Serenteen Tears 
in the United States** (1862-*8). Munclc Rieder, a Norwegian, wrote a work 
on his return from the United SUtes in 1849— chiefly sUtisticaL 


all with an inkling of that taste have found their loneliest 
wanderings cheered thereby. Nor has it been the scientifio 
love of nature alone to which she has here ever appealed. 
To the adventurous and poetical, to the brave lover of inde- 
pendence and freedom, like Boone, and the enthusiast, like 
Chateaubriand, the forest and the waterfall have possessed a 
memorable charm. From Bartram to Wilson, and from Au- 
dubon to Agassiz, the world of animal and vegetable life in 
America has yielded a long array of naturalists the richest 
materials for exploration. 

One of the earliest scientific visitors to our shores was 
Peter Ealm, who was sent from Sweden, with the approba- 
tion of Linnieus, in 1745. His salary was inadequate, and he 
so trenched upon his private resources, in order to carry out 
the objects of his journey, as to be compelled, after his re- 
turn home, to practise rigid economy. Ealm was bom in 
Osterbotten, in 1715, and educated at UpsaL On his return 
from America, he was appointed professor of natural history 
at Abo, where he died in 1119. A charming memorial of hia 
visit to our country is the botanical name given to the wild 
laurel of our woods, first made known by him to Europe^ 
and, in honor thereof, called the Kalmia. His work, ^ En 
resa til Norra Amerika,'' appeared in Stockholm in 1753-'61, 
in three volumes, and was translated into Dutch, German, and 
English — the latter by John R. Foster, under the title of 
"Travels in North America" (2 vols., London, 1772).* 
He passed the winter of 1749 among the Swedes settled at 
Racoon, New Jersey. He explored the coast of New York, 
visited the Blue Mountains, the Mohawk, Iroquois, Oneidai 
Tuscarora, and Onondaga Indian tribes. Lake Ontario, and 
the Falls of Niagara. His description of the latter was long 
popular. In his diary, while at Philadelphia, he notes the 
variety of religious sects and their peculiarities, the exports, 
and the hygiene. Some of the facts recorded by him of the 

* *' Trayels in North America, containing its Natural History, and CiTfl, 
Ecclesiastical, and Commercial Sute," ftc^ bj Peter Kahn, 8 toIs. 8to., b«l 
edition, map, platea Warrington, 1770. 


City of Brotherly Love a century ago, enable us to realize 
how rapid has been the advance from suburban wildness to 
the highest metropolitan luxury. When Kalm sojourned 
there, elks, beavers, and stags were hunted where now is 
"the sweet security of streets." So abundant were the 
peaches, that they served as the food of swine. The noisy 
midsummer chorus of frogs, locusts, and grasshoppers vibrar 
ted through what is now the heart of a great city. Maize 
was to the Swedish botanist the most wonderful staple of the 
soiL He discovered a species of Rhus indigenous to the 
region. The murmur of the spinning wheel was a familiar 
sound ; and sassafras was deemed a specific cure for dropsy. 

Kalm*s picture of Albany in 1749 is an interesting paral- 
lel and contrast to Mrs. Grant's more elaborate description, 
and to the pleasant social glimpses of its modem life given 
by the late William Kent in a lecture before the young men 
there of this generation. The Swedish traveller tells us 
that all the people spoke Dutch, that the servants were all 
negroes, and that all the houses had gable ends to the street, 
with such projecting gutters that wayfarers were seriously 
incommoded in wet weather. He describes the cattle as 
roaming the dirty streets at will ; the interior of the dwell- 
ings as of an exemplary neatness, and the fireplaces and 
porches thereof of an amplitude commensurate with the 
wide and genial hospitality and liberal social instincts of the 
people, whose prevalent virtues he regarded as frugality in 
diet and integrity of purpose and character. In their houses 
the women were extremely neat. "They rise early," says 
Kalm, " go to sleep late, and are almost over nice and cleanly 
in regard to the floor, which is frequently scoured several 
times a week." Tea had been but recently introduced among 
them, but was extensively used ; coffee seldom. They «ever 
put sugar and milk in their tea, but took a small piece of the 
former in their mouths while sipping the beverage. They 
usually breakfasted at seven, dined at twelve or one, and 
supped at six ; and most of them used sweet milk or butter- 
milk at every meaL They also used cheese at breakfast and 


dinner, grated instead of sliced ; and the usnal drink of the 
majority of the people was small beer and pure water. The 
wealthier families, although not indulging in the variety then 
seen upon tables in New York, used much fish, flesh, and 
fowl, preserves and pastry, nuts and fruits, and various wines, 
at their meals, especially when entertaining their friends or 
strangers. Their hospitality toward deserving strangers was 
free and generous, without formality and rules of etiquette, 
and they never allowed their visitors to interfere with the 
necessary duties of the household, the counting room, or the 
farm. # 

In describing his visit to Niagara Falls, in ]a letter dated 
Albany, September 2, 1750, Kalm furnishes us with an inter- 
esting contrast between the experience of a traveller to this 
long-frequented shrine of nature, a century ago, when such 
expeditions were few and far between, and the magnificent 
scene with its frontier fort was isolated in the wHdemess, 
and the same visit now, when caravans rush thither many 
times a day, with celerity, to find all the comforts, society, 
and amenities of high civilization : 

" I camo, on the 12th of August, to Niagara Fort. The French 
{hero seemed much perplexed at my first coming, imagining I was an 
English officer, who, under pretext of seeing the Falls, came with 
some other view ; but as soon as I showed them my passport, they 
changed their behavior, and treated mo with the greatest civility. 
In the months of September and October, such immense quantities 
of dead waterfowl are found, every morning, below the fall, on the 
shore (swept there), that the garrison of the fort for a long time live 
chiefly upon them, and obtain such plenty of feathers in autumn as 
make several beds/^ 

The Swedish colony on the banks of the Delaware early 
associated that brave nationality with the settlement of 
America.* Longfellow's translation of Tegner's " Children 

* 1. ** Description of New Sweden in America, and the Settlements in 
Pennsylvania by Companies,^ Stockholm, 1792, a small quarto, with primitire 

2. '* Description of the Province of New Sweden, now called by the English 
Pennsylvania," translated and edited by Peter S. Duponceau. Pbila., 1824. 

8. '' The Swedes on the Delaware," by Rer. Jefan Curtis day, Phila. 


of tlie Lord^s Sapper," with the prefatorr sketch of life in 
Swedem gave us a pleasant glimpse of its primitiTe and rural 
traits ; and the rooalism and beneficence of Jenny Lind en- 
deared the Terr name of that £ir-off land to American hearts. 
But the noveb of Fredrika Bremer first made known in this 
coontnr the domestic life of Sweden, which, delineated 
with sach naivtt^ and detail in ^ The Neighbors,'' charmed 
our households, and prepared them to give a cordial welcome 
to the author. The first impression she made, however, was 
not highly attractive. A journal of the day weU describes 
it, and the natural reaction therefrom : 

^* The downesB with which she spoke, and the pertinacity with 
which she insisted on understanding the most trifling remark made 
to her, a little dashed the enthusiasm of those who newly made her 
acquaintance. Further intercourse, however, brought oat a quaint 
and quiet self-possession, a shrewd vein of playfulness, a quick obser- 
vation, and a truly charming simplicitT, which rewou all the admi- 
ration she had lost, and added, we £uicy, even to the ideal of expec- 

There are few situations in modem life more suggestive 
of the ludicrous, than that of a woman *^ of a certain age,'' 
professedly visiting a country for the purpose of critically 
examining and reporting it and its people. Every American 
of lively imagination who has been thrown into society with 
<me of these female philosophers on such a voyage of discov- 
ery, must have caught ideas for a comedy of real life from 
the phenomena thus created. ^^ Asking everybody every- 
thing," the self-appointed inspector is propitiated by one, 
quizzed by another, feared by this class and contemned by that, 
idl the time with an unconscious air, looking, listening, noting 
down, and, from the most evanescent and unreliable data, 
"giving an opinion" or drawing a portrait, not of a well- 
known place or familiar person, but of an tmknown country 
and a strange nation ! To see Miss Martineau vigilantly 
thriddlng crowds and paying out the flexible tube of her ear- 
trumpet, like a telegraph wire, into the social sea ; or Dick- 
ens astride a chair in a hotel, receiving gratuitous and ezag- 


gerated reports of the state of the nation, from a group of 
lion-struck republicans, are tableaux that will recur to many, 
as illustrations of this comedy of travel in America. 

It was our lot to see Miss Bremer at a manorial domicile 
on the Hudson, in all the glory of her ^' mission." It was in 
the autumn, and no one could pass along the river without 
being struck with admiration at the splendid colors that 
kindled the woods: it was the common theme of remark. 
She, however, resented this assumed superiority of the 
American autumn, saying, '^ The Lord also has done some- 
thing for Sweden. Our foliage is brilliant in the falL" In 
the same spirit she refused to believe a lady fresh from Ken- 
tucky, who, in describing to her the Mammoth Cave, men- 
tioned the familiar fact that the fish therein have only the 
rudiment of an optic nerve. At dinner, her inquiries about 
the material and preparation of the viands would have led to 
the supposition that she meditated a manual of cookery ; and, 
on returning to the drawing room, she whipped out a sketch 
book, and coolly drew a likeness of Irving, the most illustri- 
ous of the guests. The fabrics of the ladies' dresses, the 
modes of dancing, the style of meals, the trees, furniture, 
books, schools, and private history of all persons of note, and 
even of those unknown to fame, were investigated with per- 
fect good humor and nonchalance ; but the process and idea 
of the thing, when considered, are a singular commentary 
upon modem life and social dignity ; and when the long- 
expected book appeared, the kind people who had enter- 
tained Miss Bremer, were dismayed to find their sayings and 
doings recorded, and their very looks and characters analyzed 
for the public edification. This breach of good faith and 
good taste, however, did not prevent her Swedish readers 
from learning, through her very frank and naive but often 
superficial report, many details of domestic economy, and 
some novelties of American life ; while here the effect was 
once more to "give us pause" in our hospitable instincts, and 
to feel the necessity of a new sumptuary law, whereby to eat 
one's salt should be a pledge against the freedom of pen-crafL 


Adam Gnrowski^s book on America is noteworthy as 
tb^ obsenrations of a Pole. It appeared in 1857, and has 
tew elements of popularity, being alike devoid of statistics 
and gossip— the staple elements of favorite records of travel 
on this side of the water ; but it is honorably distinguished 
from these by a vein of grave speonladon and historical rea- 
soning, of which the author's subsequent hasty, irate, and 
irrationa] comments on the war for the Union, give no indica- 
tion. Being a publicist and a well-read political philosopher, 
as well as a political refugee, the Count's experience as a 
Polish revolutionist, an employe of Russia, and a long resi- 
dent in America, fits him eminently to discuss the tendencies 
and traits of this country by the light of the past. He com- 
pares our civilization with that of Europe. "Hie tone of his 
work is liberal and rational. He is a sincere and earnest 
admirer of our institutions, a trenchant social critic The 
pulpit, press, and ^^ manifest destiny" of the nation are 
keenly analyzed, and slavery is discussed from an historical 
stand-point, and thoroughly condemned by practical argu- 
ment. As a treatise on government and society, the book 
contains an unusual amount of thought, and grasps salient 
questions \^dth a comprehensive scope. It is, indeed, defeo- 
tive in style, and contains palpable errors of statement and 
inference ; but these are more than atoned for by its philo- 
sophical spirit. 

A highly educated Swiss, K. Meier, in a pleasant work 
entitled " To the Sacramento," has described his journey 
from the Northern States to California via Panama, in the 
German language, with the interest which ever attaches to 
the tour of an intelligent votary of the natural sciences ; and 
an officer of the same nation. Colonel Lecomte, has published, 
in the Frencli language, a report of our military operations 
during the first months of the war for the Union, which has 
been translated into English.* 

* ^The War in the United States : a Report to the Swiss Military De- 
partmeat ; preceded by a Discourse to the Federal Militaiy Society, asseinbled 


An accomplished member of the Belgian Representative 
Chamber wrote an able little treatise on ^^ La Question Am6- 
ricaine," * in which he arrays facts and argoments in a lucid 
and forcible manner, and discusses, with rare fulnesa and per- 
spicacity, the causes and consequences of the civil war. His 
views of the mutual interests of his own and our country are 
worth citing : 

" It will not seem out of place to show here, briefly, that, as re- 
gards Belgium, the cotton question is not the ouly one which inter- 
ests her in the affairs of America. We have close constitutional 
analogies with the United States. If their institutions should fcdlf 
ours would suflfer by reaction. We have copied the American Con- 
stitution, not only as to municipal and provincial decentralization, 
as to that of industrial, financial, charitable associations, &c., as to 
the great liberties of worship, of instruction, and of the press (of 
which the English charter offered us equally the model) ; but we 
have followed America particularly as regards the absence of a state 
religion, of which Catholic Maryland gave the first example. We 
have imitated her in the institution of an elective Senate, in that of 
a House of Representatives identified with the democratic interest. 
The national Congress voted the Belgian Constitution with their eyes 
fixed on the American Union. Were we to consult only the interest 
of Belgium, we ought to desire that the United States should con- 
tinue to remain what they have been, and to give us the example of 
union, of the spirit of liberty, and of decentralization— qualitiea 
which characterize the Anglo-Saxon race, with which the Belgians 
have bonds of relationship and close aflSnities." (P. 68.) 

"No Europeans, in our own day, have had more reason to 
regard North America with hopeful interest than the Ger- 
mans. To their indigent agricultural population this country 
has proved a prosperous home ; and the zeal with which our 
Teutonic fellow citizens, of all classes, volunteered for the 
war on whose issues hang the liberties of this continent, is 
the best evidence of their appreciation of the privileges of 

at Berae, August 18th, 1862," by Ferdinand Lecomte, translated from the 
French by a Staff Officer, New York, 1863. 

* " La Question Am6ricame dans ses Rapports aveo les lioeurs, 1' Esda- 
vage, r Industrie et la Politique." Par Le Chanoine de Haeme, liembre de la 
Chambre des Reprdsentants, Bnixelles, 1862, Svc, pp. 72. 


American citizenship. No foreigners seem to organize their 
national life among us ^ith such facility. The guilds and 
pastimes of the fatherland are as familiar in our cities as on 
the Rhine. Oerman scholars and thinkers are attached to 
our colleges, contribute to our literature, and enrich our soci- 
ety; while large sections of the Western States are culti- 
vated by German peasants. Moreover, the literature of Ger- 
many has essentially modified the culture of the present gen- 
eration of American scholars; and thus, in the sphere of 
intellectual and of utilitarian life, a mutual understanding 
and sympathy, and a community of political interests, have 
tended to bring the two nationalities into nearer relations. 

Many statistical works on the United States have been 
published in Germany as guides to emigrants; and many 
sensible treatises explaining and describing our institutions, 
manners, resources, and characteristics, like those of Von 
Raumer, Lieber, and other residents and visitors. A certain 
philosophical impartiality of tone makes the German record 
a kind of middle grotmd between the urbane and enthusiastic 
French and the prejudiced and sneering English writers. 
Some of the most just views and candid delineations have 
emanated from German writers. Their political sympathies, 
extensive information, and patient tone of mind, alike fit 
them for the task of investigating and reporting physical and 
social facts. The record may lack sprightliness, and be 
tinged with a curious vein of speculation, but is nevertheless 
likely to convey solid and valuable knowledge, and suggest 
comprehensive inferences. Gerstaecker, who travelled on 
foot over a large part of the Southwest, and Trochling, have 
given to many of their countrymen the first vivid impres- 
rions of America. Writing in the novelistic form, they 
reached the sympathies of many who would neglect a merely 
statistical work. Private letters, and the current journals and 
translations of Cooper and Irving, are, however, the popular 
sources of specific information and romantic impressions iji 
Germany in regard to the United States. Although Baron 
Humboldf 8 American researches were chiefly confined to the 


Southern continent, he was ke^y alive to the hmnan interest 
and civic problems of the United States. " We would sim- 
ply draw attention,'' he writes in " Cosmos," " to the fact 
that, since this period " (that of the discovery and coloniza- 
tion of America), ^' a new and more vigorous activity of the 
mind and feelings, animated by bold aspirations and hopes 
which can scarcely be frustrated, has gradually penetrated 
through all grades of civil society ; that the scanty popula- 
tion of one half of the globe, especially in the portions oppo- 
site to Europe, has favored the settlement of colonies, which 
have been converted, by their extent and position, into inde- 
pendent States, enjoying tmlimited power in the choice of 
their mode of free government ; and, finally, that religious 
reform — the precursor of great political revolutions — could 
not fail to pass through the different phases of its develop- 
ment, in a portion of the earth which had become the asylum 
of all forms of faith, and of the most different views regard- 
ing Divine things. The daring enterprise of the Genoese 
seaman is the first link in the immeasurable chain of these 
momentous events. Accident, and not fraud and dissensioii, 
deprived the continent of America of the name of Columbus. 
The New World, continuously brought nearer to Europe 
during the last half century by means of commercial inter- 
course and the improvement of navigation, has exercised an 
important influence on the political institutions, the ideas and 
feelings of those nations who occupy the eastern shores of 
the Atlantic, the boundaries of which appear to be constantly 
brought nearer and nearer to one another." 

There is e curious illustration of the first impressions of 
the highly educated Germans in America, in a phrase of 
Baron Furstenwarther, and its explanation by Mr. Schmidt : 
" With all the facility," writes the former, " particularly of 
the material life, there is no idea, not a distant suspicion, of 
a high and fine existence." " By material," observes the lat- 
ter, ^' we mean men who take more pleasure in a cattle show 
or a breed of swine, than a Venus de Medici or a Laocoon." 
Very patient and informing, but quite tame and didactic, are 


the " Travels in North America " by His Highness, Bemhard, 
Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, republished in Philadelphia 
in 1828. The kindluiess and intelligence of the Duke are 
apparent on every page of these two volumes ; but there is 
little new in the subjects or mode of treatment. It is a work 
which excites respect for the man more than admiration for 
the writer. His benevolent interest and his detailed account 
of what he sees and hears, are the most remarkable traits. 
He gives a favorable report of the hospitality of Americans ; 
describes his visit to the elder Adams, and a Virginia rail 
fence, a granite machine in New England, and a Hudson 
River steamboat or horse ferry, the Creek Indians, and 
Owen's community, with the same fulness and apparent inter- 
est. He criticizes West's painting of *' Christ Healing the 
Sick " judiciously, bestows the epithet " dear " upon Philadel- 
phia, was astonished "to hear Virginians praise hereditary 
nobility and primogeniture," and greatly enjoyed a visit to 
the Moravian settlement at Bethlehem, the Natural Bridge, 
and a dinner at Monticello. It is remarkable that the travel- 
lers of rank show so much more human and so much less con- 
ventional interest in American life, manners, 'and resources 
than those who belong to a class we should imagine especially 
alive to the opportunities and privileges of a new and free 
country. Yet the Cavalier Castiglione, the Marquis of Chas- 
tellux, the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and Lord Morpeth are 
more just and generous in their observation and sympa- 
thies, as travellers in America, than a Hall, a TroUope, or a 

Friedrich Von Raumer, more of an historian than an 
observer, a professor in the University of Berlin, and author 
of several political and historical treatises, after travelling in 
England and publishing his observations on that country, 
which were translated by Mrs. Austin (5 vols., London, 
1836), visited this country, and, in 1843, wrote a book there- 
on, entitled "America and the American people," subse- 
quently translated and published in New York.* It contains 

• *< America and the Amerioan People," by FrederidL Von Banmer, 


much valuable infonnation, and is written with the love of 
knowledge and patient exposition thereof characteristic of a 
German professor, but evidently drawn much more from 
books than from life. 

The German edition of the " Travels " ♦ in America of 
the Prince Maximilian von Wied, is superbly illustrated, and 
much used as an authentic reference by his countrymen, for 
whom the work was expressly written : it is wholly descrip- 
tive, and therefore contains little that is new to a well-in- 
formed native. The work was translated into English, and 
with its superb illustrations republished in London. One of 
the best known here of the German writers on this country is 
Dr. Francis Lieber. He was bom at Berlin in 1800, and re- 
ceived a doctor's degree at the University of Jena. Like so 
many ardent and cultivated young Europeans, he espoused 
the cause of Greece during her Revolution ; became a politi- 
cal exile, received a letter of encouragement from Richter, 
wrote poems in pnson, and, in 1827, came to America. He 
edited the Cydopoedia Americana^ and was professor in Co- 
lumbia College, South Carolina, several years, and now holds 
a like situation in Columbia College, New York. Dr. Lieber 
is an eminent publicist. His views on political economy are 
original and profound. His expositions of international law, 
and his occasional political essays, are alike remarkable for 
extensive knowledge and acute reasoning. His ^^ Letters to 
a Gentleman in Germany," or " The Stranger in America," f 
exhibit his ability in his special line of studies, applied to our 
institutions and resources. They give remarkably full state- 
ments of judicial and penitentiary systems, and of social 
traits. Dr. Lieber's ample opportunities of observation, his 

translated from the German by W. W. Turner, 8vo., pp. 512, New York, 

* " Journey through North America," by Prince Max v. New-wied-Wied, 
a most valuable work, rich i^ characteristic sketches of nature and life, as well 
as in scientific results. 

f '* The Stranger ha America ; comprising Sketches of the Manners of 
Society, &c," by Francis Lieber, 2 toIs. 8to., Ixmdon, 1886. 


familiarity with society and life both North and South, and 
the philosophical tendency of his mind, make him a remarkably 
apt expositor of the most important questions relating to our 
country. His work was translated into English by a son 
of the celebrated jurist Hugo. 

Christian Schultz made an inland tour through the United 
States, in 1807-8, of six thousand miles, his description 
whereof was published in New York in 1810.* Though not 
intended for the public, his letters are intelligent, and, for 
the most part, accurate. Those referring to the Western Ter- 
ritories must have afforded seasonable and desirable informa- 
tion at that period ; and his account of the Middle States is 
in some respects highly satisfactory. A good illustration of 
the absence of locomotive facilities at that time on one of 
the most frequented lines of travel in our day, occurs in the 
notes of his journey from Albany to Oswego. The latter 
place, he tells us, was then " wholly dependent upon the salt 
trade." He went there by canal and through Wood Creek 
and the Onondaga River ; in fact, by the route described in 
Cooper's " Pathfinder," substituting a barge for a canoe. As 
to the town itself, thus slowly approached by water, and long 
the goal of fur trader, missionary, and military expeditions, 
this author thought its " appearance very contemptible from 
the irregular and confused manner in which the inhabitants 
build their houses ; " but his impression of the place changed 
when he surveyed the lake from the shore, and recognized so 
many local advantages and so vast and beautiful a prospect. 

A volume, written also from personal experience, of the 
same date, by Ludwig Gale, entitled ^^ My Emigration to the 
United States," is another of the early specimens of German 
Travels therein, since forgotten in the more complete and 
careful reports of later writers. Nor should the essay of a 
political philosopher and naturalist, E. A. W. Zimmerman, 
be neglected. It is entitled " France and the Free States of 

• " Trarelfl on an Inland Vojrage through the States of New York, Penn- 
gylvania, Virgima, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, &c.,** by Christian Schulti, 
with numerous maps and plates, 2 toIs. 8to., New York, 1810. 


North America," and appeared in 1795. Its author, a native 
of Hanover, and educated at Leyden and Gottingen, died in 
1815, and, ^^ during the whole period of the French ascen^ 
dency in Europe, was distinguished for his bold denunciation 
of the usurpations and oppressions of that Government." 

In 1839, a view of ^^ Social and Public Life in the United 
States," by Nicholas H. Julius,, appeared at Leipsic. It is 
written in a very intelligent and humane spirit, and with 
practical judgment. Paul William Duke of Wurtemberg's 
" Journey in North America in the Years 1826-'26," is finely 
descriptive, with vivid sketches of social life. It contains 
a detailed account of some of the German settlements. 
William Grisson characterizes ably the juridical, religious, 
and military relations of America, and comments on life 
there from careful observation. F. W. von Wrede drew 
some authentic '* Pictures of Life in the United States and 
Texas." In Count Gorsz's " Journey Round the World," the 
first volume is devoted to Americ^ ; and, the author having 
remained there longest, it is the best of the series. M. 
Busch's " Wanderings in the United States " is written with 
candor, and presents the extremes of light and shade, with 
no small humor; while Francis Loher has some excellent 
national portraits in his '^ Lands and People in the Old and 
New World," and describes at length the '* Germans in 
America," with whom he long resided. Frederick Kapp 
published, at* Gottingen, in 1854, a treatise on the slavery 
question, in its historical development, full of facts and just 
reasoning, although recent events have negatived its pro- 
phetic inductions. Louis von Baumbach's "New Letters 
from the United States" (Cassel, 1856), is a useful guide to 
the candid study of American life and institutions; and 
Julius Frobel's " From America" (Leipsic, 1857) treats with 
esprit and geniality social and political questions. 

In a work entitled " The Americans in their Moral, Social, 
and Political Relations," a German writer, Francis J. Grand 
(subsequently a naturalized citizen and active politician), ex- 
posed some of the superficial and false reasonbg of English 


travellers in America. Published in Boston ♦ and London in 
1837, and claiming to be the result of fourteen years' resi- 
dence in the country, it discussed, with much acuteness and 
candor, several unhackneyed topics of this prolific theme : 
among them, the aversion to amusements, the reception of 
foreigners, the relation of American literature to the English 
periocUcal press, and the influence of the Western settlements 
on the political prospects of America ; while the more famil- 
iar topics of education, universal suffrage, slavery, and indus- 
trial enterprises, are treated with much discrimination. The 
political sympathies of the author give an emphasis to his 

'arguments ; but he is by no means blind to the national defi- 
ciencies ; and in a subsequent work, evidently more especially 
devoted thereto— which, although ostensibly edited only, was 

^written by him, and entitled " Aristocracy in America " — ^he 
exhibits them with sarcastic xigor. His first book, however, 
was timely, true, and remarkably well written. He professes 
to have arrived at strict impartiality, and was chiefly inspired 
by an "honest desire to correct prejudices, American and 
English, and not to furnish them with fresh aliment.'' He 
declares that the "Americans have been greatly misrepre- 
sented ; " and this not so much by ascribing to them spurious 
qualities, as by omitting to mention those which entitle them 
to honor and respect, and representing the foibles of certain 
classes as weaknesses belonging to the nation. In the opin- 
ion of this writer, " a remarkable trait of English travellers 
in the United States consists in their proneness to find the 
same faults with Americans which the people of the conti- 
nent of Europe are apt to find with themselves." He recog- 
nizes an " air of busy inquietude " as characteristic of the 
people, and " business " as the " soul " of American life ; yet 
he considers the tendency of their democracy " not to debase 
the wealthy in mind or fortune, but to raise the inferior 
classes to a moral elevation where they no longer need be 

• "The Americans in th«r Moral, Social, and Political Relations," by 
Fnnoi0 J. Gnind, 2 toIb. in 1, 12mo., Boston, 1887. 


degraded and despised." As to the ^^ unhallowed custom of 
talking about trade and business, I must confess," he says, 
'' not to have remarked it half as often as Hamilton. I rather 
think an honorable exception was made in his favor, in order 
to acquaint him the better with American affairs, on which 
they knew he was about to write a book." To this natural 
explanation of a circumstance which the English traveller 
magnifies into a national defect, the more kindly continental 
observer adds another which accounts for many false infer- 
ences : ^^ From the writings of Basil Hall and Hamilton, it is 
evident that neither of the gentlemen became acquainted with 
any but the fashionable coteries of the large cities, and that 
the manners of the people, and especially of the respectable 
middle class, esca|>ed altogether their immediate attention." 
He observes that "the most remarkable characteristic of 
Americans is the uncommon degree of intelligence that per- 
vades all classes ;" and thinks that " their proneness to argue 
lends a zest to conversation." To popular education he 
attributes the mental activity and enlightenment so striking 
to a European as general traits. " The German system," he 
remarks, " favors the development of the mind to the exclu- 
sion of all practical purposes. The American aims always 
at some application, and creates dexterity and readiness for 
action." In the Western communities, he finds an attractive 
" naivete of manners and grotesqueness of humor." No one, 
he says, can travel in the United States without making a 
business of it. " He must not expect to stop except at the 
place fixed upon by the proprietors of the road or the steam- 
boat." The position of a man of leisure in this country, 
unless he is interested in literary or scientific pursuits, he 
deems forlorn, because it is companionless. "There is no 
people on earth," he observes, " with whom business consti- 
tutes pleasure and industry amusement^ to an equal degree as 
witli the inhabitants of the United States." Hamilton attrib- 
utes the " total absence of the higher elegancies of life " in 
this country to the " abolition of primogeniture ;" while this 
Geiman commentator cheerfully accepts the condition that ho 


^^ must resign his individtial tastes to the wishes of the major- 
ity" in view of the compensatory benefits. "Every new 
State," he writes, " is a fresh guarantee for the conrtinuance 
of the American Constitution, and directs the attention of 
the people to new sources of happiness and wealth. It in- 
creases the interest of all in the General Government, and 
makes individual success dependent on national prosperity." 
With such broad sympathies and liberal views, he protests 
against the narrowness and the injustice of British writers, 
who have so pertinaciously misrepresented the country, its 
institutions and prospects, declaring that '*the progress of 
America reflects but the glory of England. All the power 
she acquires extends the moral empire of England. Every 
page of American history is a valuable supplement to that of 
England. It is the duty of true patriots of both countries to 
support and uphold each other to the utmost extent compati- 
ble with national justice ; and it is a humiliating task either 
for private individuals or public men to make the foibles of 
either the subject of ridicule to the other." 

In his novels, Otto Ruppius, who resided for a consider- 
able period in the United States, undertook, in this form, to 
make his comitrymen familiar with the various aspects of Dfe 
in America. Tliey are interesting and suggestive, and in 
many respects authentic, though not always free from those 
partial or overdrawn pictures which are inseparable from this 
form of writing. 

Another German author, for some years a resident in the 
United States, has made life and nature there the subject of 
several interesting and efiective novels — after having, on his 
return home in 1826, published the general result of his ob- 
servation and experience on this side of the water. He came 
back the following year, and his first American romance ap- 
peared in Philadelphia soon after, under the title of " To- 
keah ; or, The White Rose." Charles Seatsfield thus became 
known as an author. In 1829 and '30 he was one of the 
editors of the Courier des Etata Unia^ and, soon after, went 
to Paris as correspondent of the New York Courier and 


JSkgiuirer. In 1832 he visited Switzerland, and there pub- 
lished a translation of " Tokeah." So popular was this work 
abroad, that he resolved to compose a series of romances 
illustrative of American life. His keen observation, strong 
sympathies, and imaginative zest enabled him to mould into 
vivid pictures the scenes and characters with which he had 
become familiar in America, where the six novels devoted to 
that subject soon became known through partial translations 
which ap^ared in BUickwood^a Magazine. Tlie intensity 
and freshness of these delineations excited much interest. 
They seemed to open a new and genuine vein of romance in 
Ame];||;^n life, or, rather, to make the infinite possibilities 
thereof charmingly apparent. This was an experiment sin- 
gularly adapted to a German, who, with every advantage of 
European education, in the freshness of life had emigrated to 
this country, and there worked and travelled, observed and 
reflected, and then, looking back from the ancient quietude 
of his ancestral land, could delineate, under the inspiration 
of contrast, all the wild and wonderful, the characteristic and 
original phases and facets of his existence in Texas, Pennsyl- 
vania, or New York. " Life in the New "World " was «oon 
translated and published in the latter city. It was followed 
by " The Cabin Book ; or, Sketches of Life in Texas," and 
others of the series which abroad have given to thousands 
the most vivid impressions of the adventure, the scenery, and 
the characters of our frontier, and of many of the peculiar 
traits of our more confirmed civilization. Seatsfield resides 
alternately in Switzerland and the United States. 

Few modem travellers have won a more desirable reputa- 
tion for intelligent assiduity and an honest spirit than John 
G. Kohl, who, bom at Brdme in 1808, was educated at Got- 
tingen, Heidelberg, and Munich, and, after filling the office 
of private tutor in two noble families, established himself at 
Dresden, and thence made numerous excursions through vari- 
ous parts of Europe and Atnerica ; describing, with care and 
often with a singular thoroughness, the countries thus visited. 
Few records of travel convey so much interesting information* 


The attainmeDts and the temper of Kohl alike fit him for his 
chosen department of literature ; for, to much historical and 
scientific information, an enlightened and ardent curiosity, 
and a habit of patient investigation, he unites a liberal, 
urbane disposition, and a rare facility of adaptation. He 
deals chiefly with facts that come under his own observation, 
and views them in the light of history. Imagination is quite 
secondary to rational inquiry in the scope of his studies from 
life; but he is not destitute of sensibility to nfiture, nor 
wanting in that philosophic interest in man, whereby the 
records of travel become so suggestive and valuable. Still, 
to most of hjfi readers the charm of his books is mainly their 
candid and complete report of local features, social circum- 
stances, and economical traits ; so that one is often surprised 
to find a hackneyed subject arrayed in fresh interest, through 
the new facts noted or the special vein of inquiry pursued by 
this genial and intelligent cicerone. Kohl has written thus 
of Russia, Poland, Hungary, Styria, Bavaria, England, Scot- 
land, Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Holland, Istria, Dalraar 
tia, and other countries, explored by him with obvious zeal 
and vigilant observation. The tone of his mind may be in- 
ferred, not only from the extent of his books of travels and 
their fulness and authenticity, but also from the casual sub- 
jects which have occupied his indefatigable pen ; such as the 
" Influence of Climate on the Character and Destiny of the 
People;" and "Esquisses de la Vie, de la Nature et des 
Peuples." The inquiries and impressions of so experienced a 
traveller and comprehensive a student cannot be destitute of 
interest and value. Durmg his sojourn among us, Kohl culti- 
vated the acquaintance of men of letters. He was eager in 
searchmg for the earliest maps and charts of the country and 
the coast. He domesticated himself w^here there was most 
to be learned, and won the esteem of all who knew him, by 
hifl naive^ candid, and intelligent companionship. Thus far 
his published writings on America consist of an account of 
his visit to Canada, an expedition to Lake Superior, an elabo- 
rate sketch of the History of Discovery on this Continent, 


and yarioos local delineatioDB, which have appeared in the 
London periodicals. He differs from other writers by his 
geographical knowledge and the comparisons founded on ex- 
tensive observations in other parts of the world. Although 
not blind to the incongruities and inequalities of our civilizar 
tion, he is keenly alive to the progressive tendencies and 
actual privileges here realized. His eye for nature is scien- 
tific, his interpretation of national character acute, his judg- 
ments often historical in their basis ; and it is in the spirit of 
a kindly man of the world, and a scholar and thinker, that he 
looks on the spectacle of American life. With a true Ger- 
man patience and zest, he seeks the men and th^ things, the 
facts of the past and the traits of the present that interest 
him, and have, in his estimation, true significance as illustra- 
tive of national character or local traits. How he thus re- 
garded some of our literary and political celebrities and social 
aspects and traits, appears from his account of Boston. It is 
curious to compare his impressions of the metropolis of New 
England, viewed in such a spirit and for such an end, at thb 
period, with the primitive picture of the Abb6 Robin and the 
imbittered reminiscences of Consul Grattan : 

^^ Of all the cities of the American Union, Boston is the one that 
has most fully retained the character of an English locality. This 
is visible upon the first glance at its physiognomy and the style of 
building. The city is spread out over several islands and peninsulas, 
in the innermost nook of Massachusetts Bay. The heart of Boston 
b concentrated on a single small peninsula, at which all the advan- 
tages of position, such as depth of water, accessibility from the sea 
and other port conveniences, are so combined, that this spot neces- 
sarily became the centre of life, the Exchange, landing place, and 

^^ The ground in this central spot rises toward the middle, and 
formerly terminated in a triple-peaked elevation (the Three Moun- 
tains), which induced the earliest immigrants to settle here. At the 
present time these three points have disappeared, to a great extent, 
through the spread of building ; but for all that, the elevation is per- 
ceptible for some distance, and the centre of Boston seems to tower 
over the rest of the city like an acropolis. From this centre numer- 
ous streets run to the circumference of the island, while others have 


been drawn parallel with it, Jnst as Moscow is built ronnd the 
Kremlin. All this is in itself somewhat European, and hence there 
are in Boston streets running up and down hill ; at some spots even 
a drag is used for the wheels of carts. The streets, too, are crooked 
and angular — a perfect blessing in America, where thej generally 
nm with a despairing straightness, like our German everlasting pop- 
lar alleys. At some corners of Boston — which is not like other 
American cities, divided chess-board- wise into blocks— you actually 
find surprises: there are real groups of houses. The city has a 
character of its own, and in some parts offers a study for the archi- 
tect — things usually unknown in America. 

" The limitation of the city to a confined spot, and the irregular- 
ity of the building style, may partly be the cause that the city 
reminds us of Europe. But that the city assumed so thorough an 
English type, may be explained by the circumstance that Boston re- 
ceived an entirely English population. In 1640, or ton years after 
its formation, it had five thousand English denizens, at a period when 
New York was still a small Dutch country town, under the name of 
New Amsterdam. Possibly, too, the circamstance that it was the 
nearest seaport to England, may have contributed to keep up old 
English traditions here.* The country round Boston bears a remark- 
able likeness to an English landscape, and hence, no doubt, the State 
obtidned the name of New England ; but as in various parts of New 
England you may fancy yourself in Kent, so, when strolling about 
the streets of Boston, you may imagine yourself in the middle of 
London. In both cities the houses are built with equal simplicity, 
and do not assume that pomp of marble pilasters and decoration 
noticeable at New York and elsewhere. The doors and windows, 
the color and shape, are precisely such as you find in London. In 
Boston, too, there is a number of small green squares; and, amid 
the turmoil of business, many a quiet eul cU sac, cut ofi* from the rest 
of the street system. 

" Externals of this nature generally find their counterpart in the 
manners and spirit of the inhabitants, and hence I believe that Bos- 
ton is still more English and European than any other city of the 
Union. This is visible in many things ; for instance, in the fact that 
the police system and public surveillance are more after the European 
style than anywhere else in America. Even though it may not be 
* quite so bad ' as in London, it strikes visitors from the West 'and 
South, and hence they are apt to abuse Massachusetts as a police- 
ridden State. Even in the fact that the flag of the Revolution was 
first raised in Boston — and hence the city is generally called * The 
Cradle of American Freedom ' — ^we may find a farther proof that 


the population was penetrated with the true Anglo-Saxon tempera- 

^* This is specially perceptible in the scientific and social life of 
Boston, which suits Europeans better than the behavior in other 
American towns. Boston, in proportion to the number of its popu- 
lation, has more public and private libraries and scientific societies 
than any other metropolis of the Union ; and, at the same time, a 
great number of well-organized establishments for the sick, the poor, 
the blind, and the insane, which are regarded as models in the Uni- 
ted States. Boston has, consequently, a fair claim to the title of the 
'American Athens.' There are upward of one hundred printing 
ofiices, from which a vast number of periodicals issue. The best and 
oldest of these is the North American Retieto^ supplied with articles 
by such men as Prescott, Everett, Channing, Bancroft, &c. Among 
the Boston periodicals there has existed for some time past one de- 
voted to heraldry, the only one of the sort in the Union, which, per- 
haps, as a sign of the aristocratic temper of the Bostonians, evidences 
a deeply rooted Anglicanism. 

*^ The Historical Society of Boston is the oldest of that nature in 
the country. Since the commencement of the present century, it has 
published a number of interesting memoirs; and the history of no 
portion of the Union ha& been so zealously and thoroughly investi- 
gated as that of New England. The * Lowell Institute,* established 
and endowed by a rich townsman, is an institution which works 
more efficaciously for the extension of knowledge and education than 
any other of the same character in America. It offers such hand- 
some rewards for industry and talent, that even the greatest scien- 
tific authorities of England — for instance, Lyell — ^have at times found 
it worth while to visit Boston, and lecture in the hall of the Lowell 
Institution. In one of its suburbs — Cambridge — Boston possesses 
Harvard College, the best and oldest university in America ; and it 
has also in the heart of the city a medical school. The city library, 
in its present reformed condition, surpasses in size and utility most 
of such establishments to be found in Germany. 

" At Boston, too, private persons possess collections most inter- 
esting for science and art, which prove the existence of a higher 
feeling among the inhabitants of the city. During my short stay 
there I discovered and visited a considerable number. For instance, 
I met with a linen draper, who first showed me his stores near the 
waterside, then took me in his carriage to his suburbanum, where I 
found, in a wing expressly built for its reception, a library contain- 
ing all the first editions of the rarest works about the discovery and 
settlement of America, which are now worth their weight in gold. . 


This worthy Boston tradesman was a very zealous member of the 
Historical Society, and has already published several memoirs upon 
his speciality (the earliest history of the American settlements). I 
was also taken to the villa of another tradesman, who made it the 
business of his life to make the most perfect collection of editions 
of the Bible. His collection is the only one of the sort in America, 
and, at the time I saw it, consisted of no less than twelve hundred 
Bibles, in every sort of edition and shape, published in all the Ian- 
g^uages and countries of the world, among them being the greatest 
typographical rarities. I was also enabled to inspect a splendid col- 
lection of copperplate engravings, equally belonging to a tradesman : 
it consisted of many thousand plates, belonging to all schools, coun- 
tries, and epochs. The owner has recently presented it to Cambridge 
University, where it is now being arranged by a German connoisseur, 

*^ One evening I was invited to the house of a Boston tradesman, 
where I found, to my surprise, another variety of artistic collections. 
It was a partly historical, partly ethnographical museum, which the 
owner has arranged in a suite of most elegant rooms, and which he 
allowed us to inspect after tea. His speciality lay in weapons and 
coats of mail, and the walls were covered with magnificent speci- 
mens bought up in all parts of Europe, regardless of cost. He pos- 
sesses all the weapons employed before theiinvention of gunpowder ; 
while in an adjoining room were all the blood-letting tools of Japan. 
In another was a similar collection from Ohina, and several other 
countries. Never in my life have I seen so many different forms of 
knives, hatchets, battle axes, and lances collected together as at this 

" At the same time, the company assembled on that evening was 
of great interest. Among others, we were honored by the presence 
of Fanny Kemble, who, as is well known, belongs to the United 
States since her marriage with an American. The fact that this most 
intellectual of artistes has selected Boston as her abode, will also 
bear good testimony to the character of the city. During my stay 
in Boston she was giving readings from Shakspeare, and I heard her 
in the * Merchant of Venice.' Tlie readings took place in a magnifi- 
cent hall capable of containing two thousand persons, and it was 
quite full. I have frequently heard Ticck, Devrient, and many oth- 
ers of our best dramatic readers ; but I am bound to say that Fanny 
Kemble is the best of all I ever heard. She is graceful in her move- 
ments, and possesses a well-formed chest, and an energetic, almost 
masculine organ. On the evening I heard her she was hoarse, in 
consequence of a cold, and, by her own statement, weak and lan- 
guid; but, for all that, managed so admirably that nothing of the 


sort was perceptible. She developed all the male and female parts 
in the play— especially the Jew's — so characteristically and clearly, 
that I could not help fancying I had the whole thing before me, bril- 
liantly designed on Gobelin tapestry. She accompanied her reading 
with lively gesticulations, bnt did not lay more stress on them than 
is usual in an ordinary reading. The Boston public were silent and 
delighted ; and it is on account of this public that I insert my re- 
marks about Fanny Eemble. I was charmed with the praise which 
this excellent English lady bestowed on our German actors during a 
conversation I had with her. She told me that she preferred to see 
Shakspeare acted on a German stage, especially by Devrient. And 
this, she added, was the opinion of her father, Oharles Kemble. The 
circumstance that his wife was a native of Vienna may have contrib- 
uted, however, to make Charles Eemble better acquainted with the 
character of the German stage. 

*^ Of course it was not in my power to inspect all the collections of 
Boston, and I need scarcely add that I found magnificent libraries in 
the houses of a Prescott, a Ticknor, an Everett, &c. In Boston, a 
good deal of the good old English maxim has been kept up, that 
every one buys a book he requires. A great quantity of rare and 
handsome books wander from all parts of Europe annually to these 
libraries. In the same way as the Emperor Nicholas had his mili- 
tary agents in every state, the Americans have their literary agents, 
who eagerly buy up our books. In London I was acquainted with a 
gentleman permanently residing there, who was a formidable rival to 
the British Museum, and found his chief customers among the Bos- 
ton amateurs, though he had others in New York and elsewhere. 

*' When they desire to satisfy any special craving, the Americans 
are not a whit behind the English in not shunning expense or outlay. 
Thus I was introduced, at Philadelphia, to a book collector, whose 
speciality was Shakspeare. He had specimens of every valuable edi- 
tion of the poet's works. Only one of the oldest and rarest editions, 
of which bat three copies exist, was missing from his shelves ; and 
when he heard that one of these would shortly be put up for sale in 
London, he sent a special agent over with secrej; instructions and 
carte hlanche. He succeeded, though I am afraid to say at what an 
outlay of dollars, and the expensive book was shipped across the 
water. "When it arrived at Philadelphia, the oveijoyed owner in- 
vited all the friends of Shakspeare in the city, and gave them a bril- 
liant party, at which the jewel — an old, rusty folio — was displayed 
under a brilliant light upon a gold -embroidered velvet cushion. In- 
terminable toasts and speeches were given, and finally the volume 
was incorporated in the library, where it occupied but a very small 


" In other AmericAn cities I saw varions remarkable collections 
of rarities— aa, for instance, Mr. Lenoz^ at New York, who has a 
mania for bringing together all the books, documents, and pamphlets 
referring to the history of America. Mr. Peter Force, of Washing- 
ton, has a similar one ; bat I will not stop to describe it, but retom 
to Boston, which is to some extent the metropolis of such collec- 

"Alexander von Humboldt^s library has been made known to the 
world in a copperplate, but I must confess that I could draw a much 
more attractive picture of some of the studies of the Boston savans. 
In their arrangement, in the picturesque setting out of the books and 
curiosities, in the writing tables, and chairs, as ingenious as they are 
comfortable, in the wealth of pictures and busts found in these 
rooms, generally lighted from above, you find a combination of the 
English desire for somfort and the American yearning after external 
splendor. The Americans are the only people in the world who pos- 
sess not merely merchant princes, but also autb<ff princes. 

" I visited several of these distinguished men in their spacious 
and elegant studies. One morning I was taken to the house of the 
celebrated Edward Everett, one of the great men of Boston, who, 
first as preacher, then as professor of Greek, and lastly as author and 
speaker, has attained so prominent a position in the Union, and is 
still an active and busied man in spite of sixty odd years having 
passed over his head. Any remarkable book a man may have writ- 
ten, or any sort of notoriety that brings him before the public, can 
be employed in America as political capital, and lead to position and 
influence in the state. The preacher and professor, Everett, who for 
a season edited the North American Review^ and very cleverly praised 
and defended in its pages the manners and Constitution of his coun- 
try, soon after became, in consequence of his writings, member of 
Congress, & leader of the old Whig party. Governor of Massachu- 
setts, and lastly a diplomatist and American ambassador to England* 
Like many American politicians who have held the latter ofiQce, he 
was frequently proposed as candidate for the Presidency, but did not 
reach the chair, because the old Whigs had lost much of their former 
influence. On the final dissolution of his party, Everett devoted 
himself to the sciences and belles lettre$. At the time when I formed 
his acquaintance, he was engaged in delivering a public lecture in all 
the cities of the Union on the character of Washington. The great 
man^s qualities naturally had a brilliant light thrown on them, and, 
in comparison with our renowned monarchs, such as Frederick the 
Great, Joseph II., and Napoleon I., the latter came off second best 
Everett had learned his lecture by heart, and delivered it with great 


emphasis and considerable saocess, though I confess that when I 
heard it I could not conscientiously bestow such praise on it as did 
the patriotic Americans. In order that the lecture might not lose 
the charm of novelty, all the American papers were requested to 
give no short-hand report of it : hence it remained unknown in each 
city until the lecturer had publicly delivered it. Everett saved op 
hb earnings for a patriotic object — ^namely, the purchase of Wash- 
ington's estate of Mount Vernon, for which purpose a ladies* com- 
mittee had been formed. In 1857, Everett had collected more than 
forty thousand dollars toward this object There is hardly another 
country besides America in which such a sum could be collected by 
reading a lecture of a few pages, however effective it might be. 
Moreover, the whole affair is characteristic of the land and that is 
why I have related it. 

*' Boston has ever been not only the birthplace, but the gathering 
ground of celebrated men. In politics it frequently rivalled Vir- 
ginia, while in the production of poets and literary men it stands far 
above all other cities of the Union. Starting from Benjamin Frank- 
lin, who was born on one of tho small islands in Boston harbor, 
down to Everett and his contemporaries, there has never been a de- 
ficiency of great and remarkable men in the city. Hancock, who 
drew up with Jefferson the Constitution of the United States, lived 
in Boston ; and the most distinguished of the few Presidents the 
N'orth has produced— the two Adamses — belonged to Boston, where 
they began and closed their career. Daniel Webster, the greatest 
American orator of recent times, received his education in Boston, 
and spent all that portion of his life there when he was not engaged 
at Washington. There are, in fact, entire faibilies in Boston — as, for 
instance, the Winthrops, Bigelows, &c. — which have been rich in 
talented persons ever since the foundation of the city. 

^^ When I visited Boston in 1857, the circle of celebrated, influen- 
tial, and respected men was not small, and I had opportunity to form 
the acquaintance of several of them. Unfortunately, I knocked to 
no purpose at the door of the liberal and gifted Theodore Parker, 
whose house is ever open to Germans. The noble, equally liberal, 
and high-hearted Channing, whose pious, philanthropic, and philo- 
sophic writings I had admired from my earliest youth, and who had 
labored here as the apostle of the Unitarians, I only found repre- 
sented by a son, who does honor to his great father's memory. The 
Wobsters and Adamses had also been dead for some years, though I 
formed the acquaintance of several of their personal friends, who 
told me numerous anecdotes about them. 

^^I am sorry to say, too, I missed seeing George Ticknor, the 


great historian of Spanish literatare, a true child of Boston, where 
he was born and educated, and where he spends his time in study 
when he is not travelling in Europe, which was nnfortonately the 
case at the period of mj visit. I saw nothing of him hut his splen- 
did Spanish library, which he exclusively collected for the purpose 
of his classical work, which has been translated into almost every 

"As a compensation, Prescott, who was summoned away some 
time ago, to the regret of all his fHends, was at home to receive me, 
and he was one of the most amiable men I ever met. I saw him 
both at his own house and in society, and greedily took advantage of 
every opportunity that offered for approaching him. As he was de- 
scended from an old New England family, and was educated, and 
lived, and worked almost entirely in Boston — he had only visited 
Europe once, and had travelled but little in the United States — I 
could consider him as a true child of Boston, and as an example of 
the best style of education that city is enabled to offer. He was a 
man of extremely dignified and agreeable manners, and a thorough 
gentleman in his behavior. I met but few Americans so distin- 
guished by elegance and politeness ; and when I first met him, and 
before knowing his name, I took him for a diplomatist. lie had not 
the slightest trace of the dust of books and learning, and, although 
he had been hard at work all day, when he emerged into daylight 
he was a perfect man of the world. I found in him a great resem- 
blance, both in manner and features, with that amiable Frenchman 
Mignet. He was at that time long past his sixtieth birthday, and yet 
his delicate, nobly-chiselled face possessed such a youthful charm that 
he could fascinate young ladies. In society his much-regretted weak- 
ness of sight was hardly perceptible ; and at dinner he made such 
good use of his limited vision, that he could help himself without 
attracting the slightest attention. He frequently remarked that this 
weakness of sight, which others lamented so greatly, was the chief 
cause of his devoting himself to historical studies. Still it impeded 
his studies greatly ; for he was obliged to send persons, at a terrible 
expense, to copy the documents he required in the archives of Spain. 
He could only employ these documents and other references — par- 
tially, at any rate — Uirough readers. He was obliged to prepare 
much in his mind and then dictate it, without the help of his hand 
and fingers, which, as every author knows, offer such aid to the head, 
and, as it were, assist in thinking. At times he could only write by 
the help of a machine that guided his hand. I say purposely *at 
times,* for every now and then the sight of his own eyes became so 
excellent and strong, that he could undertake personally the me- 


ohanieal part of bis labor. StiD, literature is indebted to Presoott's 
semi-blindness for bis elaborate bistorioal works on Pern, Mexico, 
Isabella, and Philip II. ; for, bad be kept tbe sigbt of botb eyes, be 
would bave continued tbe career be bad already begun as barrister, 
and in all probability bave ended as a politician and a statesman. 

'* Another somewhat younger literary talent Boston was proud of 
at that period, was Motley, the historian, who in many respects may 
be placed side by side witJi Prescott. Like him, he also belongs to a 
wealthy and respected Boston family ; and like him, too, be has de- 
voted himself to history, through pure love. His union with the 
Muse is no mwrriags de eanvenanee, but he entered into it through a 
hearty affection. The subject that Motley selected, * Tbe History of 
tbe Netherlands in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,' had a 
special interest for his coimtrymen. At that period Holland was 
remarkably influential all over the New World, and, inter alia, laid 
the foundations of New York State. This State and its still some- 
what Dutch inhabitants consequently regard the Netherlands to some 
extent as the mother country, and their history as a portion of their 
own. They feel as much interested in it as the French do in tbe his- 
tory of the Franks in Germany. Moreover, they like to compare an 
event like the insurrection of the Netherlands against Spain with 
their own revolt against England. Motley, therefore, selected a very 
popular theme. After learning something of the world as attiuhS 
to the American embassy at Petersburg, he travelled in Germany, 
and stayed for several years at Dresden, the Hague, and other Euro- 
pean cities, in order to employ the libraries for bis purpose. Nine 
years ago, he read to a small circle of friends in Dresden, myself 
among the number, extracts from his historical work — for instance, 
his description of the execution of Counts Egmont aAd Horn — and 
then retamed to America, where he published it. This work was a 
great success ; and when I met Motley again at Boston, he bad Just 
been crowned with laureL He was a handsome man, in tbe prime 
of life, with dark curly hair. Unluckily, he did not like his country 
sufficiently well to remain in it, and returned quickly to Europe, dur- 
ing my visit to Boston. Perhaps be had lived too long upon our con- 
tinent, and had not the patience to go through the process of re- 
Americanizing, to which an American who has long been absent is 
bound to subject himself. He proceeded to London, where he re- 
sided several years, continuing his studies, and always a welcome 
guest in fashionable society, until the recent troubles forced him to 
return home. 

" We might fairly speak of a tlioroujib historical school of Bos- 
ton, for nearly all the recent remarkable historians of America bave 



inaed from this BchooL Among these I maj speciallj mention 
George Bancroft, who has selected the history of his native land aa 
his special study. His career has a great likeness to that of Everett : 
like him, he went to Gottingen when a young man, and acquired his 
tendency for historic research from Ileeren, Eichhom, and Sphlosser. 
Like Everett, he began his career as a professor at Cambridge Uni- 
versity, and like him, also, his talent and the growing popularity of 
his books led him up to important offices and posts under Govern- 
ment He was for a time secretary to the navy at Washington, then 
American ambassador in England, and at last, as he was not success- 
ful in politics, like Everett, he retired from public life into the calmer 
atmosphere of his study, where he has remained for several years, 
dividing his time between literary work and pleasant society. Dur- 
ing the winter he now resides at New York, and during the sunmier 
at a charming villa near that pretty little watering place, Newport, 
on Narraganset Bay, whence he pays a visit now and then, though, 
to his old Boston. I had the good fortune to visit this active and 
energetic historian at both his winter and summer abode. At New 
York, he passes the whole winter shut up in his splendid library, 
like a bee in his honey celL In the midst of the turmoil of business, 
his lamp may be seen glimmering at an early hour ; and he lights it 
himself, as he does his fire, in order not to spoil the temper of his 
lazy American helps for the day. 

** I am forced to remark that the result of my observations is, that 
this zeal and this * help yourself^ are no rarity among American 
men of letters. Thus I always remember with pleasure old Senator 
Benton, whose ^ History of the American Congress,^ although an ex- 
cellently written work, and a thorough mine in which to study the 
politics, parties, and prominent men of America, is, unfortunately, 
but little known on this side the water. This brave old Roman Ben- 
ton, of Missouri, a man otherwise greatly attacked for his vanity and 
eccentricities, I remember seeing, one morning at six, lighting his 
fire, boiling his coffee, and then devoting the morning hours to 
his History. 

*^ This Benton was, at that period, above seventy years of age, 
and long a grandfather. He wrote hb ^ History ' with so firm and 
onrrent a hand, that the copy went almost uncorrected from his table 
to the printing office, and within a few months entire volumes could 
be worked off. And yet he could only devote his morning and late 
evening hours to the task ; for, so long as the sun was up, he thought 
it his duty to take part in the debates of Congress and quarrel in the 
committee rooms. At times, he broke his labors entirely off, because 
he considered it necessary to take a trip to Missouri, and agitate for 


some polltioal purpose or other. One eyening, it happened that his 
entire library, with all the mannsoripts it contained, fell a prej to 
the flames. He had temporarilj taken up his quarters in a small 
wooden house in the yicinitj of the Capitol, which caught fire. 

" These fires are an almost regular and oonstantlj menacing ca- 
lamity to American authors, their libraries, and manuscripts. During 
my short stay in the United States, I heard of a whole series of cases 
in which valuable literary underti^ings were completely interrupted 
by fire. Senator Benton^ on the occasion to which I refer, lost his 
entire library, a large portion of manuscript ready for the press, and 
a heap of materials, extracts, and references, which he had collected 
for a new yolume of his ' History.' As I was on rather intimate 
terms with him and his family, and, as an author myself^ felt a spe- 
cial compassion for him, I visited him a few days after to offer him 
my sympathy. As it happened, President Pierce came up at the 
same moment, and for the same object. We found the aged man, to 
our surprise and admiration, not in the slightest degree affected or 
excited. He had removed from the ruins to the house of his son-in- 
law, the celebrated traveller Fremont, had had a new table put to- 
gether, and was busy rewriting his manuscript With Anglo-Saxon 
coolness and a pleasant face, which reminded me of the stoic referred 
to by Montaigne, who did not allow himself to be disturbed in his 
speech when a dog tore a piece out of the calf of his leg, he told us 
the story of the burning of his books. Mr. Benton allowed that a 
quarto volume of his work, with all the materials belonging to it, 
was entirely destroyed ; but he said, with a smile, while tossing a 
little grandchild on Us knee, ' It is no use crying over spilled milk.' 
He had begun his work afresh on the next day, and retained in his 
head most of what he had written down. He hoped that he should 
be able to collect once more the necessary materials— partly, at any 
rate — and he expected that the printing would not be delayed for 
many days. 

*''' This man, in his present position — and there could not be a 
more lamentable one for an author — appeared to me like an old Bo- 
man. And^ in truth, old Senator Benton had something thoroughly 
Boman in his features, just as you might expect to find on an ancient 
coin. And all this was the more remarkable to me, because I dis- 
covered such an internal value in a man who in the external world 
afforded such scope for Jibes. In Oongress I saw him twice play the 
part of a quarrelsome and impotent old man. At times— especially 
when he marched into the field to support the claims of his son-in- 
law Fremont, or any other distingui^ed members of his family of 
whom he was proud, and whom he thought he must take under his 


wing, like a patriarch of old— he grew so excited, that the President 
several times tried in vain to stop him. Once I saw him leave Con- 
gress cursing and gesticulating, and loadl j declaring that he Wonld 
never again appear in that assembly. When, too, he rode op and 
down the main street of Washington, with his grandson on a little 
poDj by his side, and keeping as close as possible to the pavement, 
that he might be bowed to by the ladies and gentlemen, they cer- 
tainly sainted, but afterward ridicnled the * great man.* Hence it 
oansed me special pleasnre, I repeat, to recognize in so peculiar a man 
an inner worth, and find the opportunity to say something in his 
praise. After all, there were heroes among the wearers of fbU-bot- 
tomed wigs and pigtails. 

** Since then, the inexorable subduer of all heroes has removed old 
Senator Benton forever from his terrestrial activity. He was enabled 
stoically to withstand the fire ; but death, which canght him np four 
years ago, did not allow him to complete his work. Still, the frag- 
ments of it that Ue before us contain extraordinarily useful matter 
for the history of the Union from the beginning of this century, and 
I therefore recommend them strongly to public writers at the pres- 
ent moment, when everybody wishes to know everything about 
America. But I will now return to Boston. 

" In the hot summer, when Longfellow, Agassiz, and other dis- 
tinguished men of Boston fiy to the rock of Nahant, Bancroft, as 
I said, seeks shelter on the airy beach of Newport ; and I remember, 
with great pleasure, the interesting trip I took thither for the pur- 
pose of spending a couple of days with the historian. The pleasant 
little town of Newport, which a hundred years back was a promis- 
ing rival of New York, is now only known as the most fashionable 
watering place in the Union. Most of the upper ten, as well as the 
politicians and diplomatists of Washington, congregate here in July 
and August. Splendid steamers, some coming from New York 
through Long Island Sound, others from Boston through the archi- 
pelago of Narraganset Bay, bring up hundreds of people daily. On 
one of these green islands in the bay, Newport is built, surrounded 
by a number of villas and gardens, which stretch out along the 
beach. And one of these hospitable villas belongs to the celebrated 
historian, who in that character, and as ex-minister and statesman, 
is reverently regarded as one of the * lions ' of Newport. 

**When I entered his house, at a late hour, I found him sur- 
rounded by the ladies of his family, to whom he was reading a 
newly finished chapter of his * History ' from the manuscript He 
invited me to listen, and told me that it was his constant practice to 
read his works in this fashion in the domestic circle, and take the 


opinion of hb hearers, bat, above all, of his amiable and highlj edu- 
cated wife. This, he said to me, was the best way of discovering 
any lack of clearness or roughness of style, and after this trial he 
made his final corrections. 

'* Newport is also known, to those versed in American antiqui- 
ties, as the spot where an old octagonal building still stands, which 
the Danish savans believe to have been erected long prior to Colum- 
bus, and which they consider was built by the old Norman seafarers 
and heroes who visited America about the year 1000. This monu- 
ment was very interesting to me to visit in the company of tbe his- 
torian of tbe United States, even though the townspeople regard it 
as the foundation of an old windmill, that belonged to a former in- 
habitant of Newport. Bancroft was of opinion that the good people 
of Newport were more likely to hit the truth than the scientific men 
of Copenhagen. I, too, after an inspection, in situ, consider the 
opinion of the latter so little founded, that it is hardly worth contra- 
dicting. As is well known, to the south of New England, in the 
middle of a swamp on Taunton Biver, there is a huge rock covered 
with all sorts of grooves and marks, which the Danish savans regard 
as a Bunic inscription, also emanating from tbe Normans. The 
Danes have even gone so far as to decipher the word ^ Thorfiun,' as 
the name of one of the Norman heroes, while others believe that 
they are marks and memoranda made by an Indian hand; while 
others, again, are of opinion that the grooves and scratches are 
produced by natural causes. 

^^ Bancroft described to me the difficulties he experienced in 
reaching this rock — at one moment wading through the water, at 
another forcing his way through scrub. He was, however, unable 
to convince himself of the truth of any one of the above three 
hypotheses ; and hence, in his * History of the United States,' he 
could only say that the much-discussed Taonton Biver inscription 
did not afford a certainty of the presence of the Normans in these 
parts. But I must hasten back to Boston, where I have many an 
excellent friend awaiting me. 

*^ First of all rises before my mental eye the image of that noble 
senator, Charles Sumner, one of the most honored men of Boston, 
whom I visited not only here in his birthplace, where he spends his 
leisure hours with his mother and relatives, but also at Washington, 
where he was delivering his bold and fiery speeches against slavery. 
While at the capital, I heard him deliver that magnificent speech 
which, although it lasted for several hours, was listened to in speech- 
less silence by the whole Senate, even by the Southern members who 
were boiling over with fury, and entailed on this noble man the bra- 


tal attack from one of the chivalry lof the South, which laid him on 
a bed of siokness for weeks, where he hovered between life and 

** How painfal and sad it was to see this tall and stately man 
felled like a pine tree, and writhing in agony on his couch f His 
noble face, in which his lofty intellect and towering mind spoke ont, 
was swollen and lacerated, as if he had been nnder the claws of a 
bear. English, Germans, French, Spaniards, and Italians were the 
first to hurry to him on the day of the outrage, to display their sym- 
pathy and respect, and lay a crown of honor on his bleeding temples. 
With this great man, after his return from Europe, and several kin- 
dred spirits, I used to spend pleasant evenings en petit eomite in Bos- 
ton, and felt delighted at the opportunity of discussing with them the 
great questions of the day. Not so pleasant, though equally remark- 
able, were my feelings when I returned home at night fh)m such an 
intellectual and sympathizing circle, and was compelled to listen to 

the expectorations of a Colonel B , of Carolina, who lodged in 

the same hotel. He made it a point to lie in ambush for me every 
night, to smoke a cigar, drink a glass of grog, and take the opportu- 
nity of explaining to me his views about the North. Although he 
had travelled in France and Germany, associated with the nobility, 
and belonged to the Southern aristocracy, the Colonel was so ftill of 
prejudices against the North, that he walked about among the New 
Englanders of Boston like a snarling sheep dog among a flock of 
lambs. He * pished ' and * pshawed,' even abused loudly and bitterly 
all he saw, both the men — ^the accursed Yankees, their narrow* 
hearted views, their stiff regulations, their unpolished manners — as 
well as things, such as the Northern sky, the scenery, the towns, vil- 
lages, and country houses. All that Boston or a Bostonian had or 
possessed seemed to him infected with abolitionism. He would even 
look on, with a sarcastic smile, when, during our conversation, I 
stroked a pretty little spaniel belonging to a Boston lady. He could 
not endure this Boston animal, and if ever it came within his reach 
he was sure to give it a harmless kick. Nothing was right with him, 
of course — least of all the Boston newspapers, in which he pointed 
out to me articles every evening, which, according to his opinion, 
were horrible, perfidious, atheistical, full of gall and poison, although 
I could not discover anything of the sort in them when he read them 
aloud to me with many gesticulations. To the people who sur- 
rounded us he generally behaved politely, because, as I said, he was 
a Southern gentleman, and did not let it be seen how his heart heaved 
and boiled. But if any one took up the cudgels with him, merely 
expressed an opinion that had the remotest connection with the sla^ 


▼er7 question, or emelled of abolitionism, he would break out into 
the most enthnsiastio diatribes in defence of the peculiar institution. 
His glances would become passionate, and his tone insulting. He 
appeared evidently bent on war, and I was often surprised that the 
Yankees put up with so much from him, and let him escape with a 
whole skin. In the South, had a Northerner gone to one tenth of 
the same excess, it would have been enough to hand him oyer to the 
tender mercies of Judge Lynch. 

'* If I asked him why he had come to this North, which he so 
heartily despised, he would reply that, unhappily, his physicians had 
found it necessary to send him into this exile for the sake of his 
health ; and he had long had an intention of visiting, on the North- 
em lakes, the poor Indians who were so shamefully maltreated by 
the Yankees. The sufferings of these unhappy tribes, who perished 
beneath the heel of the oppressor, and pined away in their shameful 
fetters, had long touched his heart. He could never think of them 
without emotion, and he now intended to go as far as the cataracts 
of 8t. Anthony to give the Bioux a feast, and offer them some relief 
from their shameful martyrdom. I remembered that I had once 
before noticed the some compassion for the Indians in a Southern 
slaveowner, and consequently that it is, in all probability, traditional 
among these people, to answer the reproaches cast on them for slave- 
holding, by accusing their hostile brethren of ill-treating the Indians. 
Although I in no way shared my Southern fHend^s views of sla- 
very and abolition, but was generally in the opposition, as a foreigner 
I did not seem to him so utterly repulsive as these God-forgotten 
Yankees. At first, at any rate, he believed that he should not be 
washing a blackamoor white with me. If I only would visit the 
South, he expressed his opinion I should be speedily converted, and 
grow enthusiastic for his side. Hence he condescended to argue with 
and instruct me, while he gnashed his teeth at his Northern country* 
men when they dared to address him on the vexed question. Toward 
the end, however, I began to perceive that he was giving me up as 
incorrigible, and extended his enmity to me as well. We at length 
parted, not exactly as sympathetic souls ; and when I now think of 
my Southerner stalking about Boston like a tornado in a human 
shape, I do not understand how it was that I did not then see civil 
war ante forti in that country. 

** It may be imagined what a relief, joy, and comfort it was for 
me, after the stormy evenings I spent with the Southerner, to be in- 
vited the following day to a dinner table, where I found all the men 
with whom I sympathized, and whom I respected, assembled. The 
old Flemish painters, in their fruit and flower pieces, and in what is 


called ' still life/ have striyen to represent the roast meats, wine 
flasks, crystal glasses, grapes, and oranges which decorated the tables 
of their rich contemporaries. But how can I depict sach a dinner at 
Boston, where a Longfellow took the chair, an Agassiz acted as 
oroupier^ a Prescott was my left, a Motley my right hand neighbor, 
and where my tiU-^tU was a tall, thin, dry-looking man, who, I was 
told, was Ralph Waldo Emerson ? Between the epergnes and flower 
vases I could see also the characteristic features of noble and distin- 
goished men ; the gray head of a Winthrop, or the animated face of 
gnch a benefactor to humanity as Dr. Howe, whom the blind and 
the deaf and dumb combine to bless. When I reflect how rare such 
highly gifted men are in the world, and how much more rare it is to 
be enabled to see a dozen of them sitting together cheerfully and 
socially over their wine, I find that we cannot sufficiently value such 
moments which accidents produce, and which, perhaps, never again 
ooour in the traveller's life. When we read such books as those of 
Mrs. Trollope, Oaptain Basil Ilall, or Dickens, we might suppose that 
there is nothing in America that can be called * good society.' But 
when a man finds himself in such company as fell to my lot in Bos- 
ton, he begins to think differently, and is at length disposed to allow 
that in America a good tone peculiar to the coontry, and possessing 
highly characteristic qualities, exists. I concede that it is rare, and 
I believe that the American, in order to appropriate this tone, must 
have passed the ocean several times between America and Europe ; 
in this, imitating his twice-across-the-line Madeira (which, by the 
by, is magnificent in some Boston houses). The American, as a mle, 
becomes really full flavored in and through Europe. What I would 
assert, though, is, that the American has a peculiar material to take 
the polish which Europe can impart, and that, when he has rubbed 
off his American horns — for it is quite certain that the American is 
as much of a greenhorn in Europe as the European seems to be in 
the United States— a species of polish is visible, which possesses its 
peculiar merit, and nothing like it is to be found in Europe. There 
is no trace of mannerism or affectation ; none of that insipid polite- 
ness, prudery, and superfinedom into which Europeans are so apt to 
UXL In the well-educated American we meet with a great simplicity 
of manner, and a most refreshing masculine dignity. Both in Bos- 
ton and New^ York I visited private clubs, and met gentlemen belong- 
ing to the bar, the church, the mercantile classes, &c., who possessed 
all these qualities in an eminent degree. In these small retired clubs 
— they may have been select, and I am unable to decide how many 
of the sort may exist — ^humor and merriment were so well controlled, 
wit and Jesting were so pleasantly commingled with what was seri« 
ous and instructive, that I never kiiew pleasanter places for men/' 


In our inadequate because ineyitably brief Bummary of 
German writers on America, should not be forgotten the 
learned widow of the lamented Professor Edward Robinsooi 
who, among other notable writings published under the name 
of "Talvi," gave to her countrymen (Leipsic, 1847) "The 
Colonization of New England '' — an able historical digest of 
the early history of that region and people, subsequently 
translated by a son of William Hazlitt, and published in Lon- 
don (1851) in two handsome duodecimo volumes. In this 
work the details of each original State organization are 
given, and much incidental light thrown on the character of 
the people, and the tendencies and traits of local society at 
this primitive era. Relying upon the Diary of Bra^ord, first 
Grovemor of Plymouth, the New England Memorial, Gh>vemor 
Dudley's Report, Johnson's, and "America Painted to the 
Life, a True History" (London, 1668), the Relations of Hig- 
ginson. Wood, Lechford, Joscelyn, the Reports of Munson, 
Underhill, Gardiner, Ac, with the writings of "founders" 
such as Clark, Gk)rges, Roger Williams, Ac., and for later 
facts referring to Hubbard, Mather, Church, Miles, Neale, 
and others, Mrs. Robinson eliminated from these and other 
authentic sources the essential facts, and moulded them into 
a most significant and lucid narrative — ^the more so from 
being the work of a mind trained in the older civilization of 
Europe. " I look upon the early days of New England," she 
naively remarks, "with love certainly — ^but as a German." 
Comparatively impartial as she is, even in this primitive 
record we find indications of tHie prejudice which subsequent 
events fostered into a habit, and almost a mania, in " the 
mother country." "In the Revolutionary period," she writes, 
" S. A. Peters, a degenerate son oPConnecticut, published a 
' General History' of that State (London, 1781) — a mesh of 
lies, and deformed with enormous slander. Nothing could be 
more characteristic of the feeling at that time prevalent in 
England toward America, than the fact that this contempti« 
ble and slanderous work survived, the following year, in a 
second edition." 


We cannot, perhiqMK, more appropriately close this cdrsoiy 
notice of Oerman writers on America, than by referring to 
two lectures by Dr. Philip Schaff, whose fame as a Chnreh 
historian, and labors as a theological professor at Mercers* 
borg, Pennsylvania, give special interest and authority to his 
Tiews. When Dr. Schaff revisited his native country, in 
1854, he gave, at Berlin, two discourses, part of a series by 
eminent scholars. Carl Ritter, and other illustrious friends, 
advised their publication ; and this is the ori^ of his unpr^ 
tending but comprehensive ^^ Sketch of the Political, Social, 
and Religious Character of the United States of North 
America." It was translated from the Grerman, and pub- 
lished in New York in 1855. The latter branch of the sub- 
ject naturally occupies the largest space ; and it is in relation 
to German emigration and the Evangelical Church that he 
chiefly discusses the condition and prospects of his adopted 
country. In view of the fact that, the very year of his visit 
to his fatherland, the emigration of his countrymen to the 
port of New York alone, amounted to more than one hundred 
and seventy-nine thousand, he descants upon the privileges, 
needs, dangers, and destinies involved in this vast experiment, 
with the knowledge of a good observer and the conscience 
of a Christian scholar. He laments the evil attending so 
large a proportion of ignorant and irreligious emigres^ and 
the low condition of the German press in America ; but, on 
the other hand, anticipates the happiest results from the coali- 
tion of the American and Teutonic mind. " With the one," 
he observes, "everything runs into theory, and, indeed, so 
radically, that they are oftentimes in danger of losing all they 
aim at ; with the other, everything runs into practice, and it 
is quite possible that many of the best and worst German 
ideas will yet attain, in practical America, a much greater 
importance than in the land of their birth, and iirst become 
flesh and blood on the other side of the ocean, like certain 
plants, which need transplanting to a foreign soil in order to 
bear fruit and flowers." He describes with candor the promi- 
nent traits of our country and people. The latter, he says, 


^ are resilessness and agitation personified : even when seat- 
ed, they push themselyes to and fro in their rocking chairs, 
and live in a state of perpetual excitement in their business, 
their politics, and their religion. They are excellently char- 
acterized by the expressions ^ help yourself and *• go ahead,' 
which are nerer out of their mouths.'* " The grandest des- 
tiny is evidently reserved for such a people. We can and 
must, it is true, find fault with many things in them and 
their institutions — slavery, the lust of conquest, the worship 
of mammon, the rage for speculation, poHtical dnd religious 
fanaticism and party spirit, boundless temerity, boasting, and 
quackery ; but we must not overlook the healthy vital ener- 
gies that continually react against these diseases — the moral, 
yea, Puritanical earnestness of the American character, its 
patriotism and noble love of liberty in connection with deep- 
rooted reverence for the law of God and authority, its clear, 
practical understanding, its indination for improvement in 
every sphere, its fresh enthusiasm for great plans and schemes 
of moral reform, and its willingness to make sacrifices for the 
promotion of God's kingdom and every good work. They 
wrestle with the most colossal projects. The deepest mean- 
ing and aim of their political institutions are to actualize the 
idea of universal sovereignty, the education of every individ- 
ual. They wish to make culture, which in Europe is every- 
where aristocratic and confined to a comparatively small por- 
tion of society, the common property of the people, and train 
up, if possible, every youth as a gentleman, and every girl as 
a lady ; and in the six States of New England, at least, they 
have attained this object in a higher degree than any country 
in the Old World, England and Scotiand not excepted. 
There are respectable men, professedly of the highest cul- 
ture, especially in despotic Austria, who have a real antipa- 
thy to America, speak of it with the greatest contempt or 
indignation, and see in it nothing but a grand bedlam, a ren- 
dezvous of European scamps and vagabonds. Such notions it 
is unnecessary to refute. Materialism, the race for earthly 
gain, and pleasure, find unquestionably rare encouragement in 


the inexhanstible physical resonrcee of the country ; bnt H 
has a strong and wholesome counterpoise in the zeal for lib- 
eral education, the enthusiastic spirit of philanthropy, the 
munificent liberality of the people, and, above all, in Chris- 
tianity. Radicalism finds in republican America free play for 
its wUd, wanton revellings, and its reckless efforts to uproot 
all that is established. But there is unquestionably in the 
Anglo-Saxon race a strong conservatism and deeply-rooted 
reverence for the Divine law and order ; and, even in the 
midst of the storms of political agitation, it listens ever and 
anon to the voice of reason and sober reflection. Despotism 
and abuse of the power of government make revolution; 
while moderate constitutional liberalism forms the safest bar- 
rier against it : radicalism, therefore, can never have such a 
meaning and do so much harm in England and America, as in 
countries where it is wantonly provoked to revolutionary re- 

Dr. Schaff sketches the size, growth, polity, social life, 
and religious tendencies and traits of America, in a few au- 
thentic statements, and expresses the highest hope and faith 
in the true progress and prosperity of the nation. "To 
those," he remarks, " who see in America only the land of 
unbridled radicalism and of the wildest fanaticism for free- 
dom, I take the liberty to put the modest question : In what 
European state would the Government have the courage to 
enact such a prohibition 'of the traffic in all intoxicating 
drinks, and the people to submit to it, as the Maine liquor 
law? I am sure that in Bavaria the prohibition of beer 
would produce a bloody revolution." 

Education in America, and the state of literature and sci- 
ence, are ably discussed and delineated. The press there is 
fairly estimated ; and the Church, as an organization and a 
social element, analyzed with remarkable correctness as to 
facts and liberality as to feeling. The influence of German 
literature in America is duly estimated, and the character and 
tendencies of foreign immigration and native traits justiy 
considered. Without being in the least blind to our national 


faults, Dr. Sohaff has a comprehensive insight as to our na- 
tional destiny, and a Christian scholar's appreciation of our 
national duties. ^^The general tendency in America," he 
observes, ^^ is to the widest possible diffusion of education ; 
but depth and thoroughness by no means go hand in hand 
with extension. A peculiar phenomenon is the great number 
of female teachers. Among these. are particularly distin- 
guished the *• Yankee girls,' who know how to make their 
way successfully everywhere as teachers — as in Europe the 
governesses from French Switzerland. Domestic life in the 
United States may be described as, on an average, well regu- 
lated and happy, l^e number of illegitimate births is per- 
haps proportionally less than in any other country. The 
American family is not characterized by so much deep good 
nature, and warm, overflowing heartiness, as the German; 
but the element of mutual respect predominates." 

No foreign writer has more clearly perceived or em- 
phatically stated the moral and economical relation of Amer- 
ica to Europe than Professor Schaff. His long residence in 
this country, and his educational and religious labors therein, 
gave him ample opportunity to know the facts as regards 
emigration, popular literature, social life, and enterprise; 
while his European birth and associations made him equally 
familiar with the wants of the laboring, the theories of the 
thinking, and the exigencies of the political classes. '^ Amer- 
ica," he writes, ^^ begins with the results of Europe's two 
thousand years' course of civilization, and has vigor, enter- 
prise, and ambition enough to put out this enormous capital 
at the most profitable interest for the general good of man- 
kind. America is the grave of all European nationalities ; 
but it is a Phcenix grave, from which they shall rise to new 
life. Either humanity has no earthly future, and everything 
is tending to destruction, or this future lies, I say not exdii- 
sively, but mainly in America, according to the victorious 
march of history, with the sun, from east to west." * 

* ** America, PoUUcal, Social, and RdigiooB,'* bj Dr. Philip Sohali; New 
Tork, C. Scribner, 1856. 






Fbom the antiquated French of the missionary Travels, 
and the inelegant English of the uneducated and flippant 
writers in our vemacular, it is a vivid and pleasant change to 
read the same prolific theme discussed in the *'*' soft bastard 
Latin" that Byron loved. Although no Italian author has 
discoursed of our country in a manner to add a standard 
work on the subject to his native literature, America is asso- 
ciated with the historical memorials of that nation, inasmuch 
as Columbus discovered the continent to which Vespucci 
gave a name, and Carlo Botta wrote the earliest European 
history ♦ of our Revolution ; while the great tragic poet of 
Italy dedicated his "Bruto Primo,'' in terms of eloquent 
appreciation, to Washington; and the leading journal of 
Turin to-day has a regular and assiduous correspondent in 
New York, who thus made clear to his countrymen the cause, 
ontmtM, and history of the war for the Union, and whose 
able articles on the educational system and political condition 

* Botta'8 ** HUtory of tbe War of the Independenoe of the United States 
of America,'* tranalated by Otis, 2 Tola. 8to. in 1. 


of the United States, which have ^>peared in the Hivista 
Contemporenea — ^the ablest literary periodical in Italy — are a 
promising foretaste of the complete and well-considered work 
on our country that he is preparing for his own : a task for 
which long residence and faithful study, as well as liberal 
sympathies and culture, eminently fit him.* At the banque| 
given in New York to the officers of the. Italian frigate Be 
Gralantuomo, on the occasion of her visit to bring the equip- 
ment for the Re d'ltalia, a magnificent ship of war built in 
this country for the navy of Italy, the same writer, in re- 
sponse to a sentiment in honor of the king, aptly observed : 
^^ Con qual animo non pronuzieremo il nome de Vittorio Em- 
manuele, iu questo solenne ocoasione, quando per la prima 
volta nella storia d'ltaUa i rappresentati della marina naaon- 
ale, toccano a questi lidi e mettono piede su questo continente 
che da quasi quattro secoli un marinaio italiano scopriva e 
dava alia civiltil del mondo I " f 

Within a recept period, the despotism of Austria, and the 
reactionary and cruel vigilance of the local rulers in the penin- 
sula, which succeeded the fall of Napoleon and the conspira- 
cies and emeutea thence resulting among the Italian people, 
brought many interestmg exiles of that nation to our shores. 
The establishment of the Italian opera created a new interest 
in the language of Italy — ^which, with her literature, were 
auspiciously initiated in New York by Lorenzo Daponte forty 
years ago ; and the popular fictions of Manzoni, Rufini, Mari- 
otti, d'Azeglio, and Guerazzi, have made the story of their 
country's wrongs and aspirations familiar to our people; while 
such political victims as Maroncelli, Garibaldi, and Foresti 
challenged the respect and won the love of those among 
whom they found a secure and congenial asylxmi; and thus, 

♦ Frofeasor Yincenzo Botfca. 

f " With what emotions shall we not pronounce the name of Victor Emman- 
uel, on this occasion, when, for the first time in the history of Italy, the rep- 
resentatives of her national navy touch the shores and tread the continent 
which, nearly four centuries ago, an Italian mariner discoTered and gate to 
the civilized world r 


although the least nnmeroos class of emiffreSj* the Italian 
Tisitors became among the most prominent from their merits 
and misfortmies. To the vagabond image venders and prgan 
grinders, musicians and confectioners, were thus added emi- 
nent scholars and patriots, and endeared members of society. 
Nowhere in the civilized world was the national development 
of Italy more fondly watched than here. The lecture room, 
the popular assembly, and the press in the United States, re- 
sponded to and celebrated the reforms in Sardinia, the union 
of that state with Lombardy, Tuscany, and Naples, the lib- 
eral polity of Victor Emmanuel, and the heroic statesman- 
ship of Cavour. Garibaldi has received substantial tokens 
of American sympathy ; and current literature, love of art, 
and facilities of travel, have made the land of Columbus and 
the Republic of the West intimately and mutually known 
and loved. The caf^ the studio, the lyric drama, letters, art, 
and society in our cities attest this ; f and should steam com- 
munication be established, as proposed, between Grenoa and 

* Between 1820 and 1860, about 18,000 Italian emigrants reached, this 
oountrj. At present, in New York, the Italian population is estimated at 
S,000 — ^most of them peasants and peddlers, who earn a precarious subust- 
ence as oi^gan players, venders of plaster casts, kc Colonies of them live in 
limited quarters in the most squalid part of the city — monkeys, organs, 
images, and families grotesquely huddled in the same apartment An evening 
■diool for these emigret has been in successM operation for some yean, and 
with good results. 

f Scanty as is the record of Italian travel in the United States, the emi- 
gration of that people being chiefly directed to South American cities, where, 
as at Montevideo, they have large communities, the Spanish is still more 
meagre, and contrasts in this respect with the prominence of that race in the 
chronicle of maritime enterprise and exploration centuries since. Among the 
few books of Spanish travel of recent origin, are the following : 1. ^* Viage 
a lo6 Estados-Unidos del Norte de America,** por Don Lorenzo de Zavala, 
Paris, 1834, 1 vol. 8vo., pp. 874. The author was, at one time, Minister from 
Mexico to France. His book is a slight affair.— 2. *^ Cinco Meaes en loe Es- 
tados-Unidos de la America del Norte desde el 20 de Abril el 28 Setiembre, 
1885, Diario dc Viage de D. Ramon de la Sagra, Director del Jardin Botanloo 
de la Habana, cc.,** Paris, 1886, 1 vol. 8vo., pp. 487. Le Sagra has published 
an important book about Cuba, been concerned in Spanigh politics, and is 
well considered as a man of science ; but his book, says an able critic, is not 
modi better than Zavala's. 


New York, the emigration will improve. When the war for 
the Union commenced, many Italian citizens volnnteered, and 
some have acquired honor in the field ; while not a few can 
find in the following anecdote, which recently appeared in a 
popular daily journal, a parallel to thek own recent experi- 

^' Ten or twelve years ago an Italian emigrated from Northern 
Italy, and, after yarions wanderings, pitched his tent at Jackson, 
IGssissippi. He prospered in busuiess, increased and multiplied. He 
also managed to build two comfortable little houses, and altogether 
was getting on quite well in the world. At the time the war broke 
out he was North on basiness ; and finding, from his well-known 
Union sentiments, that it would be dangerous to return, he took 
what money he had with him, and, accompanied by his wife, sailed 
for Europe, while his sons entered the Union army. 

" In the beautiftil Val d^Ossola, not far from the town of Dome 
d'Ossola, on the great thoroughfare where the Simplon apad, issu- 
ing from the Alps, and but Just escaped from the roo^ frowns 
of the gorge of Gondo, passes amid fringes of olive groves to the 
great white * Arch of Peace ' and the brilliant city of Milan, is located 
one of those unpretending inns or locandas whioh abound in Italy — 
a low, rambling house, half hid in trellised vines, and prefiiced as to 
doorway by several rude stone tables, at which transient guests may 
sit and sip the conntry wine. 

" A few months ago, two American pedestrians stopped at this place 
and ordered wine, and, while rapping it, were accosted in tolerable 
English hj the landlord, who wanted to know their views about the 
war, and particularly when the State of Mississippi would be re- 
gained for the Union. The question, condng from such a source, led 
to a conversation, during which it was revealed that the worthy inn- 
keeper was none other than the Italian emigrant and the house- 
owner in the town of Jackson. 

*^ At that time there was no early prospect of the taking of the 
capital of Mississippi ; but, now that General Sherman is in that very 
vicinity, if not in the city itself, there will probably be good news for 
the innkeeper of the Simplon road. And this is but one instance out 
of many, in which each of even the minor phases of the war strikes 
directly at some personal interest or some chord of affection in indi- 
viduals in the most remote comers of the continent of Europe.*' 

A cnrions waif that gives ns tokens of early exploration, 
is what remains of the journal of the old Italian navigator 


Verrazzano— a relic still preserved among the treasures of the 
public library at Florence. In a summer sail down the bay 
of New York, or an ezcorsion in and around the harbor of 
Newport, R. I., we easily recognize the local features thus 
noted by Verrazzano ; but to which scene they apply, seems 
to have been doubtful to nearly all the commentators upon 
this ancient mariner ; although to us the former place seems 
obviously intended. " The mouth of the haven," he writes, 
^^lieth open to the south, half a league broad, and being 
entered within it, it stretcheth twelve leagues, and wazeth 
broader and broader, and maketh a gulf about twenty 
leagues in compass, wherein are five small islands very fruit- 
ful and pleasant, and full of hie and broad trees, among the 
which islands any great navie may ride itselfl" So New 
York Bay struck the eyes of Verrazzano in 1524, and so he 
describe^ it in a letter to the king of France, wherein he also 
speaks of the ^^ great store of slate for houses,'' the abundant 
wild grapevines, the mullets in the waters, and the ^^ okes, 
cipresses, and chestnuts " of the islands. 

There is something that excites the imagination into a 
more objective view of familiar things, when they are de- 
scribed and commented on in a foreign tongue ; and certain 
peculiarities of American life and scenery thus derive a fresh 
aspect from the vivacious pictures and observation of French 
writers. We seem to catch glimpses of our country from 
their point of view, and to realize the salient diversities of 
race and customs, as we never do when discussed in our ver- 
nacular. A similar though equally characteristic effect is pro* 
duced by reading even hackneyed accounts of men and things 
in America when oouched in Italian. Accordingly, though 
we find little original information in the ^^ Viaggio negli Stati 
Uniti dell' America Settentrionale, fatto negli anni 1785, '6, 
e '7, da Luigi Castiglione," to one who has visited Italy 
there is a charm in the record of a ^^ Patrizio Milanese." His 
book was printed in Milan, 1790. He paid especial attention 
to those vegetable products of the New World which are 
valuable as commodities and useful in domestic economy. 

rrAllAN TRA.YELLXB8. 880 

He observed with the eye of a natoralist. Climate, sects, 
food, edifices, and local history occupied his mind ; and when 
we remember the almost incredible ignorance prevalent even 
among educated Italians, within a few years, in regard to the 
United States, we cannot but think that Castiglione's copious 
and generally accurate narrative must have been valuable and 
interesting to such of his countrymen as desired information, 
seventy years ago, about America. To a reader here iwd 
now, however, the work has but a limited significance, the 
writer's experience being so identical with that of many bet^ 
ter-known authors. It is curious, however, in this, as in 
other instances, to note the national tendency in the line of 
observation adopted. Castiglione says more about architeo* 
ture than manners, meagre as that branch of the fine arts 
was in our land at the time of his visit. He is much struck 
with Long Wharf on arriving at Boston : ^^ H Gran Molo per 
cui si discenda a terra, 6 uno da piu magnifici degli Stati 
XJniti; e si dice avere un mezzo miglia di lunghezza." He 
specifies '^ V isola di Noddle " in describing the harbor. The 
shingles which then covered most of the roofs proved a nov- 
elty to him ; and a salt-fish dinner, with shellbarks and cider, 
he found so indigestible, that it made quite an impression 
both upon his stomach and brain. Alive to the charm of 
great memories, as lending dignity to cities, he recalls with 
delight the fact that Franklin, Ebncock, Adams, and other 
patriots, were bom in Boston; the republican equality of 
which community is to him a memorable fact, as is the sight 
of the statue of Pitt in New York, and the simultaneous 
advertisement of a negro and a horse to. be sold at auction 
there. As the Signore frequently travelled on horseback, he 
was exposed to the caprices of our temperature, and vividly 
realized the extremes of the climate. He alludes to his visit 
at Mount Vernon in the same terms with which aD intelligent 
foreigners dwell uppn the privilege of a personal acquaint- 
ance with the spotless patriot, whose recent career was then 
the moral marvel of the age. There is so much in this con- 
temporary testimony that agrees with and anticipates the ver* 


diet of history, that we never can read the spontaneonfl 
expression thereof, from so many and such various sources, 
without a fresh emotion of love and honor, inspired not less 
by the blessing such a character and career have proved to 
humanity, than by our own national preeminence. Never was 
there such identity of sentiment in so many different lan- 
gnges, in regard to the same human being. '^ Ivi," writes 
Castiglione of his visit to Mount Yemon, '^ passai quattro 
giomi favorite del Generale Washington coUa maggiore ospi- 
talit^. n G^erale ha cerca cinquante setti anni, e grande 
di statura, di robusta complessione, di aspetto maestoso e 

il piacevole, e benche incallito nel servizio militare, sembra 

ancora di 6ti non avanzata. Yoglia il Cielo, che, vivendo molti 
anni, serva, per lungo tempo, d'esempio nella virtu e nella 

j industria a suoi concittadini, come servi d'esempio all^ Eu- 

j ropa, nelle vittorie che consacrarono il sou nome ad un' etema 

i fame." 

In 1790, Count Adriani, of Milan, brought an ode from 
Alfieri to Washington, and aflerward wrote an abusive book 
about America, of which the General wrote to Humphrey, it 
is ^^ an insult to the inhabitants of a country where he re- 
ceived more attention and civility than he seemed to merit.'' 

Whoever visited the Roman Catholic convent at George- 
town, twenty years ago, chatted with the priests, and per- 
haps tasted the old Malaga with which they used to beguile 
their guests, must, especially if fresh from Washington soci- 
ety, have experienced a curious kind of old-world sensation, 
inspired by the contrast between this glimpse of the monas- 
tic life of Europe ^nd the vivacious, hopeful, experimental 
tone of American society. It is easy, with these impressions, 
to imagine what kind of a report of our country, its pros- 
pects, manners, and tendencies, an isolated priest of such an 
establishment would be likely to prepare. Its main character 
would, of course, be deprecatory of the religious l^'eedom 
of the land ; its social comments would naturally be founded 
on convent gossip and hear-say evidence ; and it would be 
natural to expect traces of that waggery with which our 


quick-witted people, when provoked by the perversity or 
amused by the credulity of their foreign visitors, are apt to 
quiz these seekers ^^of knowledge under difficulties;" as 
when a complacently curious lady scribe was made to believe 
the water carts used to lay the summer dust in our Northern 
cities, sprinkled the streets thrice daily with vinegar, to obvi- 
ate infection; or when the cockney accepted the statement 
that a rose bug was a flea, everything, from hotels to moun- 
tains and insects, being on a large scale in America. 

Accordingly, the reader of a now rare pamphlet, written 
by a former inmate of the Georgetown convent, will not be 
disappointed in any of these anticipations. Originally pub- 
lished in Rome, it was reprinted at Milan in 1819, and is en- 
titled ^'Notizie Yarie sullo stato presente della Republica 
degli Stati XJniti dell' America Settentrionale da Padre Gio- 
vanni Grassi della compagnia de Gesu." This Jesuit writer 
is of the urbane class. Take away the priestly animtUj and 
there is nothing consciously uncandid in his account, narrow 
and superficial as it is. The marvellous growth of the coim- 
try in population and resources is fairly indicated, and some 
agricultural information given. He declares '^the mass of 
the people are better provided with food " than elsewhere in 
the world, but are not as well off as regards drink, wine 
being very dear and beer quite rare. The seventh part of 
the population, he says, are negroes, and are kindly treated. 
He is severe on ^^ the passion for elegant preaching," on the 
extravagance in dress, on the prevalence of duels and dan- 
cing, on the superficial education, and the practice of gam- 
bling. The two last defects come with an iU grace from an 
Italian, the bane of whose nation they have been for ages. 
Padre Grassi must have been hoaxed by some report of the 
Connecticut Blue Laws, for he speaks of the superstitious 
observance of the Sabbath as constituting religion in the view 
of American Protestants, who '^ saddle a horse the day be- . 
fore Sunday to go to church on, and have no beer made on 
Saturday, lest it should work the next day." He gravely 
declares that cider is substituted for wine at the communion 


Bervice, from motiyes of economy. He is DOt at all compli- 
Dientary to the people of the Eastern States, of whom he 
probably heard a Southern report. ^' Among the inhabitants 
of the United States," he writes, " those of New England 
are regarded as thorough knaves, and are called Yankis." 
He mentions, as ordinary infractions of good breeding, that 
people in America ^^ pare the nails and comb the head in com- 
pany " (in Italy the latter is a street occnpation), and '^ sit 
with their feet ' braced on a wall or a chair." He inveighs 
against the ^^ display of piety," and indulges in some rather 
coarse jokes and some very free caricatures, that suggest 
rather the licentious than the disciplined side of monastic 
life ; yet, withal, there is something kindly in the spirit as 
there is absurd in the prejudices of Father Grassi, whose 
summing up, however, is rather discouraging : " The unre- 
strained freedom which obtains, the drunkenness which 
abounds, the rabble of adventurers, the great number of 
negro slaves, the almost infinite variety of sects, and the 
little real religion that is met with, the incredible number of 
novels that are read, and the insatiable eagerness for gain, 
are, indeed, circxmistances that would hardly give reason to 
expect much in point of manners. At first view, however, 
one is not aware of the depravity of this country, because it 
is hidden, for a time, under the veil of an engaging ex- 

J. C. Beltrami, previously a judge of a royal court in the 
kingdom of Italy, in his " l^lgrimage in Europe and Amer- 
ica," published in London in 1828, gives his impressions of 
the West with much vividness. He had much to say of the 
aborigines, and expatiates upon the natural history and 
scenery of the region he visited with intelligence and enthu- 
siasm. Of the latter he writes, " one wants the pencil of 
Claude and the pen of Delille to describe it." 

Twenty years ago, there resided in Boston a Sicilian refu- 
gee, still afiectionately remembered. He celebrated in grace- 
ful verse the solemn beauty of Mount Auburn,* and was 
• >< Monte Auburao : Poemetto da Pietro d^Aleanndro." 


esteemed by many of our scholars and dtissens for his genial 
disposition and refined mind. His first impressions of New 
England manners were essentially modified when time and 
opportmiity had secured him friends; but his early letters 
are interesting . because so natural; and they express, not 
inadequately, the feelings of a sensitive and honest Italian, 
while yet a stranger in the " land of liberty." They indi- 
rectly, also, bring the sentiment of the two countries, before 
the days of Italian unity, into suggestive contrast. Not 
intended for publication, they are all the more candid on that 
account. I obtained permission to translate them, and they 
are now quoted as a faithful local sketch of personal experi- 
ence of an educated Sicilian patriot in the American Athens : 

« Bmtoh, 18^. 

" ' I was reading Torick and Didimo * on the 26th of December, 
the very day preceding your departure; and I wept for yon, for 
Didimo, and myselj^ earnestly wishing, at the moment, that our coun- 
trymen would yield at least the tribute of a tear to the memory of 
Fosoolo, recalling bis soblime mind and the history of those lofty 
but hopeless feelings which drove him a wanderer, out of Italy, to 
find repose only in the grave/ 

" I often ponder upon these few words written by you on the 
blank leaf of my Didimo. I can never read them unmoved, for they 
awaken a sad emotion in my heart, as if they were the last accents I 
am destined to hear from your lips. Never have I so vividly felt the 
absence of your voice, your presence, and your counsel, as now that, 
driven by my hapless fortune to a distant land, I have no one either 
to compassionate or cheer me, nor any with whom to share my joy 
or sorrows. Believe me. Eugenic, the love of country and friends 
was never so ardent in my bosom as now that I am deprived of 
them; and time, instead of healing, seems rather to irritate the 
wound which preys so deeply upon my heart. I often wrote you 
while on the Atlantic, describing the various incidents of our voyage, 
the dangers we encountered, and the fearful and sweet sensations I 
alternately experienced, as the sea lashed itself into a tempest, or 
reposed beneath the mild effulgence of a tranquil night. But, upon 
reviewing those letters, I find they breathe too melancholy a strain, 
and are quite too redolent of my wayward humor, even for a dear 

* The name assomed by Fosoolo as translator of Sterne's '* Sentimental 


friend^s perusal; and, besiides reaohing yon too late, they could only 
Borve to ^eve both yourself and my poor mother. But at length I 
have arrived at a place whence I can give yon some definite account 
of my welfare. 

*^ On the night of the 15th of March, notwithstanding the con- 
trary wind which had beat ns abont here and there for several sac- 
oessive days, we cast anchor in Boston harbor. That night was long 
and wearisome to me. Obliged to remain on board until dawn, I 
passed it like many others daring the passage, unable to sleep. The 
weariness and anxiety consequent upon a long sea voyage, were at 
length over. Indeed, the moment I caught the first glimpse of land, 
they were forgotten. Tet I could scarcely persuade myself that I 
had reached America. The remembrance of the last few months of 
ezdtement and grie^ passed in that dear and distant country which, 
perhaps, I am never destined again to behold, came over me anew, 
and, contrasting with my present situation, awoke in my mind the 
most painful sense of uncertainty. I felt doubtftil of everything, 
even of my own existence. I experienced, at that moment, an utter 
want of courage. The 'flattering hopes which had brightened the 
gloomiest hours of my voyage, all at once abandoned me/ My ima- 
gination no longer pictured scenes of promise. I looked within and 
around, and beheld only the naked reidity of things. I realized only 
the sad certainty, that a new life was before me. I revolved the 
various necessities of my situation : the importance of immediately 
forming new acquaintances— the uncertainty how I should be re- 
ceived by the few to whom I had brought introductions — my own 
natural aversion to strangers — and a thousand other anxious thoughts, 
which made me long for day as the signal of relief from their vexa- 
tion. At length the morning dawned; but it was obscured by a 
damp fog and heavy fall of snow. All around wore a gloomy and 
cheerless aspect. In a few moments, the captain came to greet me 
BB usual, but with more than wonted urbanity. He informed me I 
was now at liberty, and, whenever I pleased, the boat should con- 
vey me to the nearest wharf. I did not wait for him to repeat the 
summons, but, throwing off my sea dress, as^mied another ; and, 
descending the ship^s side, soon touched the shore so long and 
ardently desired. It is true, I then felt intensely what it is to be 
alone. Tet not less sincere was my gratitude to that invisible and 
benignant Being, who had guided and preserved me through so many 
dangers. I landed with tearful eyes ; and, although no friend, wi^ 
beating heart, was there to welcome me, I stooped reverently to kiss 
the land sacred to liberty, and felt then for the first time that I, too, 
was a man* 


<< I have now passed several days in stvoUing tiirongh the streets 
of this city, amnsing myself with the sight of so many objects of 
novelty and interest I find the phioe rather pretty than otherwise; 
mnch more so, indeed, than I had imagined. The boildings, how- 
ever, are in a style so peonliar, as to suggest the idea that the principles 
of architectore are here entirely unknown, or purposely disregarded. 
And then, the people all seem in such a hurry I — ^ladies and gentlemen^ 
boys and girls, white and black, horses, hacks, wagons, and omnibuses 
hastening so fturiously along the streets, that, unless you are on your 
guard, there is no little danger of awkward rencontres. How de- 
lightful to my sea-worn sight, this spectacle of animated life t How 
gladly would I, too, have assumed a part in the busy scenes in which 
the multitude about me were engaged L With what delight should I 
have rcijoiced with them, in anticipating the comforts and the greet* 
ings of a home ! But, situated as I was during these first days suo- 
ceedhig my arrival, the scenes around me served but to make me 
realize anew my loneliness ; and, but for the gratification afforded 
my curiosity, I would have willingly remained immured in the little 
chamber of my hotel. I am, however, anxiously seeking emjdoy- 
ment ; but, as yet, my efforts have been unsuccessfuL My letters of 
introduction I do not think will be of much service to me, except the 
one proposing a credit in my &vor, from our mutual friend, which 
has been duly honored by hb correspondents. These gentlemen, like 
many others here, have expressed great pleasure in seeing me. They 
have introduced me to such individuals as I have chanced to meet in 
their company, either at the counting house, or in the streets. Thej 
have also made innumerable proffers of assistance. In short, they 
have received me kindly, and yet with a curious species of kindness, 
certainly not Italian; and, as yet, I know not if I can properly 
characterize it as American. Polite oijnot, however, they cei-tainly 
seem to aim first to satisfy their curiosity ; for, after having beset 
one with a thousand questions — many more, indeed, than it is agree- 
able to answer — they make no scruple of waiving 9XL ceremony, and 
leaving you very abruptly, without even a hasty addio. This has 
occurred to me very often, though I cannot say invariably. The 
figure which I have presented more than once, on such occasions, I 
am sure must have been ridiculous. Taken by surprise at the abrupt 
termination of the interview, I have stood immovable and half mor- 
tified, following with my eyes the receding form of my friend, walk- 
ing so coolly off, intent upon his own affairs. 

^* Another Idnd of courtesy, which some, perhaps, might ascribe 
to frankness, but which certainly wears the appearance of perfect 



indifference, is their habit of inviting one to their houses and tablea, 
in terms so verj vagne and general, that I assure you, during the 
month I have been here, it has been frequently impossible for me to 
make up mj mind to accept many of the civilities offered me. I 
question, however, whether there will be frequent occasion for scru- 
ples of this kind, as I apprehend there is little danger of such courte- 
sies being repeated : yet the good people seem in earnest, and to 
tender their hospitalities with all their hearts. I am inclined to think 
they do. But, to tell the truth, I feel no small degree of delicacy in 
accepting such courtesies, because the experience I daily acquire of 
their customs and manner of thinking, forces upon my mind the con- 
viction, that the reputation they have for egotism, especiaUy as re- 
gards foreigners, is not without foundation. 

" Boston people may be ranked among that large class who con- 
• tent themselves with respecting all who respect them, and refrain 
scrupulously from doing the slightest injury to all who are equally 
harmless. They are, however, exceedingly wary of foreigners, and 
not, perhaps, without much reason ; since many who have sojourned 
among them have shown themselves both ignorant and unprincipled, 
^!jj and, besides leaving a bad impression of their individual characters, 

ij|| ^ have also induced the most unfavorable opinions of the countries 

i|i ' whence they came. In Italy, the very name of stranger is a pass- 

ll ^ port to civility and kindness. Here, while you require no sealed and 

I signed document from any of their European migesties to insure free 

ji-i oommunication and travel, you can scarcely ask the slightest civility, 

i|; or approach one of your kind, without exciting a certain degree of 

,j; sospicion; and your disadvantage is still enhanced, if, in addition to 

the name of foreigner — which, like original sin, is deemed a common 
taint — you also bring the still less pardonable sin of poverty. The 
I necessity of earning a livelihood, however- honestly, is certainly the 

i worst recommendation with jrhich to enter a foreign country ; nor 

I ia it less so in the New World, since here, as well as elsewhere, a 

I well-filled purse, and the disposition liberally to dispense its con- 
,| tents, will insure the heartiest welcome. The Americans, too, being 
I; universally intent upon gain, are naturally indisposed to encourage 

I I new competitors, and their time is too completely absorbed in busi- 
ness to allow of their devoting many moments to the interests of for- 
eigners. Their lives are entirely spent in striving after new accumu- 
lations ; and the whole glory of their existence is reduced to the 
miserable vanity of having it said, after tbeir death, that they have 
left a considerable estate ; and this short-lived renown is awarded 
according to the greater or less heritage bequeathed. This is not 

I only the course of the father, but of the children ; for they, being 


bf law entitled to an eqnal portion of their flather'fl property, are 
obliged to follow in Iub fbotflteps, in order to obtain their shares of 
this same glory : that the question, * How mnch has he left ? ' may 
be answered as mnoh to their credit as it was to that of their sire. 
Thns the young and the old, those barely possessing a competence 
and those rolling in wealth, with eqnal zeal bend jail their energies to 
the common end. Intent npon gain and traffic, they are too absorbed 
to think of any bnt themselyes. They calculate, with watch in hand, 
the minutes and seconds as they pass, and seem naturally averse to 
any conversation of which trade and speculation are not the subject. 
Hence results, as a natural consequence, the prevailing mediocrity of 
ide^ and feelings, derived from the uniform system of education and 
manner of thinking, as well as the great similarity of interests. 
Hence, too, the equal tenor of life, and the absence of great vices, as 
well as of great virtues ; hence the social calmness and universal 
prosperity, and hence the apparent insensibility to the appeal of mis- 
fortune, resulting from the want of exercise of feelings of ready sym- 
pathy and compassion incident to such a social condition. 

" Ton may infer, from what I have said, the condition of the 
stranger in the midst of such a community— of him of whom it may 
be said with truth, that he interests no one. For my part, I cannot 
be too grateftil for the generosity of my relatives : without it, God 
knows what, by this time, would have become of your wretched 
friend. Still, I am anxious about the future— the more so since I 
have discovered that political misfortunes, which have driven into 
exile so many of our countrymen, furnish no daim to the sympathies 
of these republicans. Many of those with whom I am already ac- 
quainted are so foolishly proud of their political privileges, that, 
instead of pitying, you would fancy they intended to ridicule the less 
favored condition of other lands. I beg you, however, to consider 
what I have said on this subject as hastily inferred, and not dog- 
matically affirmed. I may be quite mistaken ; and, indeed, to pretend 
to give a correct idea of a country entirely new to me, after only a 
month^s residence, especially where the aspect of things differs so 
essentially firom what I have been accustomed to, would, I am well 
aware, appear very absurd. Yet there is a very just proverb which 
says, that from the dawn we may augur the day ; and if it be true, I 
regret to say that the dawn before me seems most unpromising. 
Would that a bright and cheerful sun would arise to dispel the mists 
of doubt, and throw gladness upon the heart of your devoted 
friend ! 



^ Often, daring my voyage, I promised myself great delight, npon 
my arrival, in visiting the plains of Cambridge, and the heights of 
Dorchester and Banker Hill, renowned as the early scenes of the 
American war. As I read Botta^s * History/ my imagination often 
transported me to those spots which he so vividly pictared. I longed 
to find myself npon the hallowed groand, to render my tribate of 
grateftil admiration to the memory of those ndble men who there 
perished fighting for the liberty of their coantry. The inclement 
season, however, has not yet allowed me to realize my anticipations. 
We are at the end of April, and yet the spring seems scarcely to 
have commenced. 

" The aq>ect of the environs of Boston is most desolate. The 
earth is still bnried under the snow ; the streets are covered with 
ice, here and there broken by the constant travelling, which renders 
them almost impassable. In addition, there prevails here, at this 
season, a most disagreeable wind. It blows from the east, and is so 
exceedingly chilly and penetrating, that it not only destroys one^s com- 
fort, but nnderminee the health. It seems to freeze my very soul, 
and effectnally drives away all disposition for romance. I have been, 
therefore, constrained to remain in town, and rest satisfied with a 
distant view of the environs, until the coming of a more genial 

" Although the city is scarcely less gloomy than the country, it 
is still some amusement for the stranger to note the pedestrians. On 
both sides of the principal street you may behold men of all sorts 
and sizes, muffled up to their eyes in doaks, high-collared surtouts, 
or quilted wrappers, fur caps and gloves, woollen capes, heavy boots 
and heavier overshoes ; and, although thus burdened with garments — 
weightier far than the leaden cloaks of Dante's hypocrites — ^they con- 
trive to shuffle along at the usual rapid rate, for they are bvnneu 
mer^ Now and then the light figure of a dandy fiits by, arrayed in 
raiment quite too light for the weather, and looking as blue as win- 
ter and misery can make him. And then the women — ladii»^ I 
mean, Grod bless them I women, there are none here — all in their 
gala dresses, all satin and muslin, light feathered bonnets, silk stock- 
ings and dancing -shoes, with a bit of fur round their necks, or the 
skirt of their pelisses, to whitper of eamfort. Thus attired, they glide 
over the ice with a calm indifierence worthy of heroines, stopping 
occasionally to purchase blonde lace or cough candy, and then mov- 
ing on in the very face of the April breeze I have described to you. 

" To speak seriously, I had thought to find in this country, if not 
the original, at least the remains of ancient simplicity. I flattered 


myself that I shonld see, among the desoendanta <^ those Poritan 
oolonists, who were ^ wise ^md modest in all their wishes,' a com- 
plete absence of pretension. Bnt it is not so. The habits which 
prevail, and espeoiallj those relating to dress, are most extravagant 
In the houses, in the streets, at every honr of the day, yon see dis- 
played—I say not with how mnch taste— the same dresses which onr 
female nobility, who are as extravagant as any oonntesses in the 
United Kingdom, are accustomed to wear only at tairies^ weddings, 
or the opera. It is mnch the same with onr sex. I will not now 
pretend to account for these extravagant habits, although I fiancy I 
have divined the reason. Tet I must believe that, in this republic, 
female dress is the great item of domestic expense. The materiel^ 
being imported from abroad, is very dear. Indeed, the price of 
everything is exorbitant As the saying is with us, those who have 
not a house pay for every sigh ; and here they cost not less than 
half a dollar or seventy-five cents each. And this adds another to 
the disadvantages of the stranger, especially if, like myself^ he has 
indulged the idea that, in this young country, dress was not thought 
to make the man in the same degree as elsewhere, and finds that, 
with all their vaunted progress, the Americans have not gone an 
iota beyond their predecessors in establishing a just standard of esti- 
mating mankind ; and are quite as prone to base their judgments 
upon appearance rather than character. Nor can yon practi- 
cally oppose such customs either with your philosophy or indiffer- 
ence, since the individual who avails himself of the privileges of 
social life is bound, as far as he can without self-debasement, to con- 
form to popular prejudices ; and, indeed, it seems to me that here 
appearances are peculiarly imposing. Wherever you turn, you be- 
hold the Dames of every description of dealer, from the poor huck- 
ster to the rich merchant, blazoned upon signs in gilt letters, as if to 
impress the stranger with the idea that he had entered the most 
prosperous country of the earth. 

*^ But I will speak to yon of the more noteworthy objects around 
me, which, however, are not numerous. Notwithstanding the un- 
pleasant season, I have visited Oambridge, with the situation of 
which I have been much pleased. The village is about three miles 
and a half from Boston ; and, in its centre, yon find the most ancient 
and best-endowed seat of learning existing in the United States. It 
is called Harvard University, and the establishment consists of sev- 
eral buildings, contdning lodging and recitation rooms, built of brick, 
with one exception, all in a simple style, which struck me as happily 
accordant with the character of the institution. The law and theo- 
logical schools constitute a part of the University. But what par- 


ticnlarlj pleased me was the library, which, from what I hear, is the 
best ia the conntrj, and, in tnith, is excellent. Among other works, 
there is qoite a collection of Italian books ; and many of the edi- 
tions are beautiful, and yerj neatly bonnd. Ton cannot imagine how 
much I enjoyed the sight of so many of oar beloved authors. Amid 
the legacies of these illustrious dead, I, for the moment, forgot all mj 
private griefs and anxiety. I seemed no longer to be among stran- 
gers, for in every one of those books I recognized an honored and 
dear friend of my youth : so long unseen, and so unexpectedly en- 
countered, they seemed to transport me to a new world. In truth, 
this was the first moment that I felt really encouraged. Who knows, 
I asked myself^ but these ancient allies of mine will introduce me to 
their friends of the New World?— and then Torick^s unfortunate 
adventure with the police of Paris occurred to me. 

" Of the University, the method of instruction pursued, and the 
progress it has made, I will tell you when I am better informed. It 
grieves me, at present, that I cannot go every day to Cambridge. 
The season being so bad, it is necessary to ride thither. Then, there 
is my dinner. 80 that, by a broad calculation (you see how I have 
already begun to calculate), the pleasure of six hours* reading would 
daily make me minus a* dollar. 'But,^ you ask, 'cannot you dine 
upon your return in the evening ? ' Tes, if they would let me I But 
here, even at the hotols, it is not the custom to order your dinner 
when you please. They treat us quite like friars ; and it is neces- 
sary, if you would not lose your dinner, to be at the table punctually 
at the stroke of two ; otherwise — but. Holy Virgin I it is the dinner 
belL Wait only a moment, for I must make haste to be in time for 
the roast beef. In three minutes (all that is required here) I will 
return, and continue my letter. 

" I went, the other day, with one of our countrymen, to visit the 
AthensBum, which is the only literary establishment in the city. It 
is supported by the sovanj and aristocracy of Boston. It has a 
library composed chiefly of donations of books, among which are 
many of the principal works published in Europe and America, sev- 
eral literary and scientific Journals, and numerous gazettes. There 
are also rooms containing casts and a few marble statues, a small col- 
lection of medallions, and two apartments for the study of architec- 
ture and drawing, but destitute both of masters and pupils, and one 
large haU« on the lower floor, used as a reading room. The share- 
holders and their friends are only admitted to the Athennum. These 
are, for the most part, gentlemen of leisure or idle people, according 
to the complimentary title bestowed on them by their fellow citizens ; 
and they go, as their taste may be, to occupy their time in the read- 


ing room, which is open from early moming tOl nine at night In 
this room, there is a rule inscribed expressly prohibiting conversa- 
tion ; and yon see, to far more advantage than in oar libraries, so 
many living statnes in every variety of attitude, often not the most 
gracefal, all with a book in hand, or intent upon a newspaper. The 
librarian, a very good sort of man, has shown himself, like many 
others, very glad to see me. He told me that, as a stranger, the 
AthensBum would be open to me for the period of one month ; but 
that after that time, if I remained, and wished to continue my visits, 
it would be necessary for me to become a subscriber, like the other 
frequenters of the institution. I thanked him for his politeness, and 
have shown how sincerely I valued it, by going almost every day to 
the AthensBum ; and as to the end of the month, I do not trouble my 
head about it, because, by that time, I hope the weather will allow 
me to walk frequently to Cambridge. What and how great are the 
advantages which result fix)m this institution, I leave you to esti- 
mate. The Athenisum, however, now in its infieaicy, seems destined 
to advance greatly ; and if^ one day, it should become a public estab- 
lishment, it cannot but be of lasting benefit to Boston. And truly, 
in a city like this, which I hear called the Athens of America, there 
should be, if nothing else, a rich library freely open to the people. 
Thus you see that, both in and out of town, I have not failed to find 
the means of becoming learned and illustrious. All these literary 
advantages, however, are reduced to nothing to a poor devil who is 
in the situation of being obliged to derive profit from the little he 
knows, rather than fW>m what still remains to him to be acquired. 
And this necessity has urged me to seek an occupation at every sac- 
rifice ; and, having gone the rounds with the diploma of a young 
letteratOy the office which, for the moment, I can most certainly 
obtain, is that of a teacher oi our language. And I have, indeed, 
one scholar, a lean doctor of medicine, to whom, as he has the meri£ 
of being connected with a relative who is intimate with one of the 

family of , who pays me my remittances, I give my lessons 

gratis. This has been, thus far, my greatest resource. But this gen- 
tle minister of death gives me promise of an introduction among hia 
patients — of whom, as yet, I have not caught even a glimpse. How- 
ever, I am obliged to trot every day, at the expense of my poor legs, 
to the doctor^s door, which is no liUle distance from mine. I go very 
punctually, but often only to find him asleep in his chair, and dozing 
while I read the lesson — which, moreover, I am obliged to explain 
through the medium of a French grammar. This avaricious San- 
grado piques himself not a little upon his egregious lisping of the 
French ; and to this day I have been unable to induce him to buy 


mother grammar. Bat, somehow or other, I hope soon to send hhn 
on a jonmey to Elysiom, to carry my compliments to his master 

" I am ang^ with yon. Five packets have arrived smce I landed ; 
and every day I hmry anxiously to the post office, only to hear the 
same chilling negative to my ardent inquiry for letters. I have even 
conceived qaite an antipathy to the stiff, laconic postman, who some- 
times deigns no other reply than a cold shake of the head. Tet yon 
promised to write me at the end of the first month after my em- 
barkation. How can I forgive snch neglect ? And what reasonable 
ezcnse can yon offer ? Perhaps yon allege the nnoertainty of my 
Ikte. Tet, had I gone to my last sleep in the bosom of old Neptune, 
think you a friendly letter would not have been a pleasant offering 
to my manes f Kay, Engenio, you know not the comfort a few lines 
from you would bring to the heart of a poor friend. I am homesick. 
My feelings seem dead to all that surrounds me. I seem condemned 
to the constant disappointment of every cherished hope ; and, were 
I able to express all I feel, I could unfold a most pitiable story of 
mental snffering. Do you realize, Eugenic, how far I am from home, 
and all that is dear to me f— that I am living in a weary solitude 
which I sometimes fear will drive me mad f With affections most 
tenderly alive, and a nature that would fain attach itself to all 
around, I find not here a single congenial being or idea upon which 
my heart can repose. A stranger to everything, I am by all regarded 
as a stranger, and read that forbidding name in the expression of all 
whom I approach. Did I carry the remorse of a criminal in my 
bosom, I could not meet the gaze of my fellow beings with less con- 
fidence. The few whom I have known thus far, are, for the most 
part, merchants or commonplace people, too much occupied in their 
own affairs to relish interruption during their leisure hours. But 
when I fall in with them, they instantly tender the old salutation, 
*Glad to see you,' coupled with an invitation to their counting 
houses, where they are too busy to talk, and content themselves with 
proffering a chair aod the newspaper. These manners result from a 
mode of life very different from that which prevails in Europe : still 
they are painfully striking to the novice, especially if he be one of 
those who know not how to support the toil and vexation of exist- 
ence, unsoothed by those cheering palliatives with which we are wont 
to sweeten the bitter cup of life. Ton well know that I was never 
over fond of general society, nor took much delight in the heartless 
glitter of fashionable life. But what I voluntarily avoided at home, 


is not a little desirable here, as a relief from the loneliness of mj 
position. Tet the onlj hoase at which I can spend an evening with 

any pleasure, is that of our countryman B ^ who, with the trne 

feeling of Italian hospitality, at once made me at home nnder his 
roof. I meet him, too, occasionally in my walks, and we converse 
of onr country, our literature, and, most frequently, of our misfor- 
tunes. God knows how grateful I am for his sympathy, without 
which it seems as if I should have died of weariness and griefl Tet 
our conversations sometimes serve to renew most keenly the mem- 
ory of my sorrows — ^which I fain would bury in the bottom of my 
heart^anid send me back to my littlei chamber to find more sadne&<i 
than before, in the companionship of liiy own thoughts. That which 
renders me most anxious, is the harassing doubt which seems to 
attend my steps. I feel already that I am a burden to my relatives. 
Every day, which passes without advancing me in an occupation from 
which I can derive support, seems lost. Although I have not neg- 
lected, nor shall neglect, seeking for every honest mode of relieving 
them from this care, yet I feel a species of remorse, as if I were 
abusing their generosity ; and the bread I eat tastes bitter, when I 
reflect that the expense of my bare subsistence, even with all the 
economy I -can practise, in these times, and under existing circum- 
stances, would half support the family of my afflicted mother. Thus 
my days pass, sustained only by hope and the promises of my new 
friends. Now and then, as at this moment, I write to those dear to 
me by way of solacing my bleeding heart ; but even this occupation 
is painful to me, since I can only write of my afflictions. 

^* Ah, Eugenio, how aggravating is now the remembrance of all 
your kind advice I It is true, in an important sense, that man is the 
creator of his own destinies. With how much care and ingenuity do 
we raise the funeral pile, which is to consume our hopes and bum 
our yery hearts ! It is true, indeed, that if I had reconciled myself 
to existing circumstances, and allowed to subside the first force of 
those feelings which even yon, with all your natural wisdom, could 
not but confess were generous and noble ; and especially had I opened 
my eyes, and calmly looked those illusions in the face, in which so 
many of our young men, and I among the rest, so inconsiderately 
confided, it is true I should not have experienced the bitterness of 
the present. But how could I contemplate the miseries of our coun- 
try, and not glow with indignation at beholding all the rare gifts 
which Heaven and nature had so benignantly bestowed, rendered 
unavailing — made but the occasion of tears to us all — every fountain 
of good dried up, or poisoned by the envy and iniquity of man f 
How could I admit the idea that I ought to sacrifice my thoughts and 


dearest Bentiments, merely for the sake of porsning, at home, one of 
our genteel professions, which, after all, could not preserve me from 
the general degradation, nor, perhaps, from infamj ? And should I 
have done so ? And whj ? From the cowardlj fear, perhaps, of 
heing exiled from the land of mj fathers, when, in the buoyancy of 
youth, I could turn to another country — far distant, it is true, but 
free ; to a country in which I could obtain a sijbsistence without sac- 
rificing one of my opinions ; where, even now, notwi t hs ta nding I 
may be made deeply to realize the axiom that mankind are the same 
everywhere, I do not see all around me the aspect of misery and un- 
happiness, nor daily instances of the petty vengeance and cold-hearted 
ii^ustice of our tyrants ; where the cheerful prospect of peace and 
universal prosperity almost reconciles one to the inevitable evils inci- 
dent to human society ; where, at least, thought and speech are not 
crimes, and you can cherish the hope of a better future without see- 
ing beside you the prison or the gallows ; where the mind can ex* 
pand unfettered by any servile chain — ^yes, the mindj which I now 
feel as free within me as when it was first bestowed by God. 

*' And yet I complain I It is true ; and I well know what you 
will reply to these letters, which I write only for the pleasure of 
being with you, even while we are separated. But if yon have the 
heart to charge all the blame to me, I would beg you, Eugenio, to 
remember that every tear teaches a truth to mortals, and that I, too, 
am one of those numerous creatures, made up of weaknesses and 
illusions, who drag themselves blindly, and widiout knowing where 
or why, in the path of inexorable fate. Now that I feel that there 
never existed so great a necessity for bringing about an alliance be- 
tween my reason and my heart, I cannot discover the method by 
which to accomplish it, and the task never seemed more impractica- 
ble. Reason, which levels everything with her balance to a just 
equilibrium, and reduces, by calculation, all things to a frigid system, 
you have adopted as your goddess ; and truly she is a most potent 
divinity, and often have I invoked her aid, and supplicatingly adored 
her power. Tet this heart of mine is such a petty and obstinate 
tyrant, that it will never yield the palm even when fairly conquered; 
and, in its waywardness, takes a wicked pleasure in pointing out the 
naked coldness of your divinity, and setting her hefore me in a most 
uninviting light. Hence it is that I am devoured with the desire of 
home ; nor will all the charms of glory, or the smiles of fortune, 
lure me from the dearer hope of reunion with the land and the loved 
of my heart. Yet who knows where I shall leave my bones ? Who 
knows if these eyes shall close eternally to the light amid the tears 
of my kindred, or whether friendship and love will linger BomowtaHj 
near to receive my last righ ? 


^^Addio. I commend to jon mj mother. This phrase would be 
meaninglesB to any bnt yon. I have nsed it to express all I fbel for 
that tenderest of beings— for her whom I continually behold in ima- 
gination; weeping and desolate. If the voice of pity and friendship 
are powerful in your heart, I pray you, Eagenio, leave her not un- 
consoled. Thou most be as another ^hild to her, and ever remember 
that she is the mother of thy friend. * 

" This morning I rose ftdl of anxiety. The moment I awoke, my 
first thought was of you, of my fSamUy, and of the delay of your 
letters ; and the sound of the breakfast bdl first aroused me from my 
painful reverie. I descended, swallowed a single cup of coffee, and, 
quiek as thought, hastened to the office. I did not expect to find let- 
ters, but having given my name, and perceiving that the postman did 
not return the customary nod of refdsal, my heart began to palpitate 
strongly. I did not deceive myself. I have my mother^s letter to 
which you have made so large an addition, and I have been till this 
moment shut up in my room, reading it over and over again, and 
bathing every line with my tears. God reward you for all your care 
and your love for me I I trust that, ere this, you have received my 
first letters, and thus been relieved of all anxiety on my account I 
thank you for all the news you give me, and especially for what you 
tell me respecting our young companions, who, I r^oice to know, 
are now quite free from the ill-founded suspicions of Government. 
The condition of Italy, however, seems to grow more sad every day ; 
and you write me that many are rejoicing at the rumor of imminent 
war, and in the hope that our old liberators will again reappear 
among us. For my part, however, I cannot but tremble with you, 
since now there is less certainty than ever that aught will remain to 
us bnt iiguries and derision. The present and past misfortunes of 
our country should have taught us that, if there is anything to hope, 
it is from ourselves alone ; and it is certain, that if the new subjects 
of the new citizen-king descend again from the mountains, there is 
reason to believe that the disgraces of bygone times will be renewed 
in Italy, and it will be our lot to transmit another record of shame 
and cowardly execrations. 

" From your literary news, I learn that the Anthology of Flor- 
ence has been abolished, and, as usual, by command of Austria. I 
had made no little search for the last number. Be it so. The sup- 
pression of that work is only one other insult to our condition, but 
not a serious loss to the nation, since the writers, who perhaps set 
out with the idea of undeceiving the Italians, are themselves the 


verj ones who propagate their onfortanate illusions; and in that 
Jooma], which was donbtless the best we had, they also said too 
mnch, and without profit. In these times, there exist no Alfieris or 
Fosoolos ; and the new school, which promised so mach hj its his- 
torical romances, has thus fSar accomplished little enough, if we ex- 
cept one or two sermons on passive obedience. Botta remains, but 
he is alone ; and the sotfl of Tacitns, which should be devoted to so 
exalted a work, is wanting to him. Moreover, his thoughts, although 
grand and sacred, are rather understood readily by those who think, 
than felt deeply by the mass, with that profound sense of despera- 
tion, from which alone a real change and constancy of opinion are to 
be hoped for among the Italians. 

" To tell you the truth, I believe we are so susceptible of illu- 
sions, that the intellectual energy of no writer whatever can avail 
anything in eradicating from the hearts of our countrymen the weak- 
nesses which are as old as our servitude, and which are strongly 
n^untained by the consciousness of general debasement and actual 
incapacity, as well as by the small degree of virtue and the total 
absence of ambition on the part of our princes. I desired to allude 
to these circumstances, in reply to that part of your letter wherein 
you recommend me not to forget Italy and our studies. But, as yet, 
you seem unaware, that in this land I have conceived a love of coun- 
try not only more powerful than ever, but instinct with a desperate 
earnestness which consumes my heart. Wherever I turn, the aspect 
of all the civil and social benefits ei\joyed by this fortunate people, 
fills me, at the same time, with wonder, adimiration, and immense 
grief. Not that I envy the Americans their good fortune, which, on 
the contrary, I ardently rejoice in, and desire, as much as any one of 
themselves, may be forever continued to the land. But I think of 
Italy, and know not how to persuade myself why her condition 
should be so different and so sad. I do not allude to the general 
policy of the country, but I speak of what I see every day while 
walking the streets — a quiet population, incessantly intent upon in- 
dustry and conunerce, without being retarded by civil restrictions or 
tyrannical extortions, by the subterfuges of official harpies, or by the 
machinery of so many hungry and shameless financiers, nor yet 
continually irritated by the insufferable and cowardly insolence of 
the ministers of the law, who, either in the military garb, or as civil 
officers, or in the form of police, are the vilest instruments of Euro- 
pean tyranny— the pests of the state, consuming its substance and 
resources, and corrupting the manners and morals of the people. 
Here, I have not yet seen in the streets a single soldier, nor one 
patrol of police, nor, in fact, any guard of the public safety ; and. 


haying occasion to go to the Onstom House, I was quite astonished 
to see the simplicitj of the fonns, the expedition with which affairs 
were condacted, and the small nnmher of officers employed. In- 
deed, this people seem like a large and united family, if not honnd 
together bj affection and reciprocal love, at least allied hj a comipon 
and certain interest, and the experience that the good of all is the 
good of the individual. Every one who has the will to labor will 
easily find occasion for its free practice and most adequate recom- 
pense. Not being incited by opportunity and the keen necessities of 
life, crimes are rare, violences almost unheard of, and poverty and 
extreme want unknown. In the streets and markets, and in every 
place of public resort, you behold an activity, a movement, an 
energy of life, and a continual progress of afiQurs; and in the move- 
ments and countenances of the people, you can discern a certain air 
of security, confidence, and dignity, which asks only for free scope. 
I know not how it is, but often I pause thoughtfully in the midst of 
the thoroughfare, to contemplate the scene around me. I sometimes 
find myself standing by some habitation, and my fancy begins to pic- 
ture it as the sanctuary of every domestic and social virtue — as the 
cradle of justice and piety — as the favorite sojourn of love, peace, 
and every human excellence. And my heart is cheered, and bleeds 
at the same time, as I then revert to Italy, and imagine what might 
be her prosperity, and how she might gloriously revive, and become 
again mistress of every virtue and every noble custom, among the 
nations of the world. 

^^ Judge, then, if I have forgotten, or if it will be possible for me to 
forget Italy, as long as I remain in this country. For the rest, as I 
have before said, I am only made the more constantly to remember 
my native land. I am told, and begin to realize, that here, as well 
as there, Utopian views of politics, morals, religion, and philosophy, 
have long prevailed, and promise to grow more luxuriously than 
ever, and become, perhaps, fatal to the prosperity and liberty of this 
land. It is, however, no small consolation for the moment, to refiect, 
that the doctrines of this nation do not depend upon the Utterati, or 
rather, that the country does not look to that class for its salvation ; 
which, as such, has no voice in the capital. There are here no mere 
questions of language; no romantieisti or claisieisU who cannot 
understand each other ; no imperial nor royal academicians of gram- 
mar; no furious pedants who are continually disputing how we 
should write, nor any that pretend to dictate how we should think. 
Eloquence is here the true patrimony, and, in fact, the most formi- 
dable weapon for good or for evil, in the hands of the people, who 
estimate it more or less by the standard of their wants or individual 


partialities. I will tell yoa, however, from time to time, in fbtore 
kfttera, as I become better informed on these saljeots. Yet expect 
not, I pray yon, from me, either statiBtios, disqniaitions, or a trayel- 
ler^s jonrnal, since jon know I came hither in qnite another capacity. 

There goes, with this, another letter to onr yonng friend B , who 

writes me that he desires to come and seek his fortune in the United 
States. Yon will see my reply ; and, to dissnade him still more from 
the project, let him see what I haye written yon. Aidio, Live ever 
in the love of your friends, of letters, of your country, and of yonrs, 

An errant countryman of ours, with the ready wit of an 
educated New Englander, when Bojouming in London, after 
a long visit to the Continent, being disappointed in his remit- 
tances, conceived the idea of replenishing his purse by a spir- 
ited article for one of the popular magazines, wherein he 
imagined the sayings and doings of a Yankee ruler suddenly 
placed at the head of affairs in the kingdom of Naples. The 
picture was salient and unique, and amused the public. We 
were irresistibly reminded thereof by a little brochure 
wherein the process here described is exactly reversed, and, 
instead of a Yankee kUerato in Naples, we have a Neapolitan 
priest in America. So grotesquely ignorant and absurdly 
superstitious and conservative is the spirit of this brief and 
hasty record,* that we cannot but regret the naive writer had 
not extended his tour and his chronicle ; for, in that case, we 
should have had the most amusing specimen extant of mod- 
em Travels in America. The author was a chaplain in the 
navy of his Majesty of Naples. He describes the voyage of 
the frigate Urania during a nearly two years' cruise from 
Castellamare to Gibraltar, thence via Tenorifie to Pemam- 
buco, Rio Janeiro, and St. Helena, to New York and Boston, 
and back to Naples by way of England and France. In his 
dedication of the " Breve Racconto " to the very reverend 
chaplain of Ferdinand H, he declares he finds ^' non pochi 

* ** Breye Racconto delle cose Chiesastiche piu Impoiianti occorae nel 
Tiaggio fatto sulla Real Frcgata Uraiiia, dal 16 Agosto, 1844, al 4 Marro, 
1846, per Raffaele Gapobianco, Cayaliero del Real Ordine del Merito di Fran- 
ceses I. e Capellano della Real Marina,** Kapoli, 1846. 


ooDSolazioni " in having gathered ^ some froits in th^ yine- 
yard of the Lord*' during hia perilous voyage ; but he adds, 
^* the rivers are but little grateful for the return of the water 
they yielded in vapor ; " and so this dedication and descrip- 
tion are but a poor return to ** our fountain of wisdom and 
virtue.** The style, spirit, ideas in this little journal are quite 
mediffivaL The simplicity and ignorance and bigotry of the 
roving ecclesiastic are the more striking from their contrast 
with the times and places of which he writes. Imagine a 
priest or friar suddenly transported from the Toledo to 
Broadway, and it is easy to solve what would otherwise be 
enigmatical in this childish narrative. He mentions, with 
pious reflections, the death of a mariner at sea from *' nos- 
talgia;*' lauds, at the South American ports, the Roman 
Catholic religion, remarking its aptitude to '* generalmente 
insinuarsi nel cuore del popolo docile." At Rio Janeiro he 
celebrates the feast of the Virgin ; and to the devout manner 
in which the ship's company commended themselves to her, 
he attributes their subsequent miraculous escape from ship- 
wreck. Thus, he writes, " God showed himself content with 
our homage to the Virgin." They keep Palm Sunday on 
board, with palms brought from St. Helena. He describes 
summarily the aspect of the cities they visit, gives the alti- 
tude of the peak of Teneriffe, notes the zones and tropics, the 
rites, and rate of their progress. " La navigazione felice," 
he observes, " arrise alle pie devozioni." On entering New 
York harbor, the chaplain says we passed '' il grande forte 
Hamilton, e finalmente la Fregata," after six thousand miles 
of navigation, " dropt her anchor opposite the Battery gar- 
den, built in the sea, and joined to the continent by a wooden 
bridge about two hundred feet long." He remarks upon the 
public buildings, observing that the Exchange was '' rebuilt 
in 1838, and is destined for a hospital;" that the Croton 
water " serves for conflagrations, which are very frequent," 
and that '^il commercio 6 attivissimo." He descants upon 
"la immensita de vapori," declaring that the ferry boats 
carry " not only loaded carts, ten or fifteen at a time, but also 



bath-houses, with every convenience." EQb most daborate 
descriptions, however, are reserved for the Catholic churches 
— St, Patrick's, St. Peter's, St. Giuseppe, aid the Church of 
the Transfiguration, where he celebrated mass. He admires 
the ^* Campanile" of '^ il Tempio colossale degli Episcopali" 
(Trinity Church), and is charmed with the " Seminario Cat- 
tolicoy" through which he was conducted by ^' quel gentile e 
virtuoso vescovo Monsignore Hus " — doubtless the late Bishop 
Hughes. The Italian priests, the juvenile choristers, and the 
church music excite his enthusiasm. Crowds of Catholics, 
he tells us, came on board the frigate to hear the siulors sing 
^Salva Regina." Romanism, he declares, has *' profound 
root " in the United States, and " daily grows," though the 
Episcopalians still strive '^ to infuse into the human heart the 
poison that, in 1603, came from Elizabeth's successor." He 
calls the Protestant sects ''tristi piante," and gives a list 
thereof, adding, '^ and to finish the noisome catalogue, to con- 
fusion add confusion, with the Quakers and Hebrew syna- 
gogues." " II nemico infemale," he says, tried to inonuate 
his^ " veleno dell' errore " into the ship. Protestant emissa- 
ries from the Bible Sodety came on board to distribute the 
Scriptures '^senza spirito santo!" His indignation at this 
proceeding is boundless. '* Era mai possibile," he exclaims, 
^' che i ciechi illuminassero gli illuminati e che intiepidessoro 
nel el cuoro de Napolitani quella Religione che il Principe 
stesso degli Apostoli venne a predicare nella loro citta I " * 

Leaving New York, the pious chaphun was ^' swept from 
the shores of the Hudson to Cape Cod," and, on the Sd of 
Juno, entered '^ the wonderful and picturesque bay " of Bo^ 
ton, to the sound of greeting cannon, and surrounded '* by 
gondolas, whence arose cordial hurrahs" ("ben venga"). 
Boston, says the erudite chaplain, " was founded by Englitdi 
colonists from Boston in England. Bunker Hill monument 
was commenced in 1827 by the celebrated engineer, O'Don- 

*^ ** Ab if it were possible for tbe blind to enlighten the enlightened, and 
weaken in the hearts of Neapolitans that religion which the Prince of the 
Apoetles hiouelf came to preach in their own city.** 


nelf Webster, under the presidency of the celebrated La* 
fayette ! '' He describes the public edifices, and, among them, 
the '^ Casa di Citt^" ^^ which rises from a height near the 
public garden, and presents a majestic appearance, toith cd' 
umna of white marhW^ Among the memorable names of 
streets, he obserres, is ^^that of Franklin, who drew the 
lightning *from heaven." Of the churches, he only remem- 
bers the Cathedral, the care and prosperity of which he 
ascribes '' to that excellent prelate, Fitzpatrick." Again he 
congratulates himself upon the progress of his Church — 
thanks to the labors ^^ della propaganone delle fede " — and 
declares that ^^ the net of St. Peter does not fail to fish up 
many new souls from the turbid sea of error." Although 
made up of all nations, ^^ the Americans," says the Neapoli- 
tan padre^ ^' follow the habits and customs of the English." 
From Boston the frigate went to Holland and to England, 
from Plymouth to Brest, thence to Carthagena and Toulon, 
the island of Zante and Nayarino, all of which places are 
briefly noted ; and from the latter they proceed to Naples, 
which harbor and city the delighted chaplain hails as the 
cradle of Tasso and the tomb of Virgil; saluting, in the 
facile rhetoric of his natiye tongue, Mergellina, ^^ where rest 
the ashes of Sannazaro," Herculaneum, Pompeii, and the light 
'^ del nostro sole, un perpetuo e yivissimo verde, Pombrifero 
pino, il pomposo cipresso, I'odorato arancio, una sopredente 
moltitudine di eleganti casine sparse per tutta quanto la 
costa, stanze di un popolo yivacissimo ed amoreyole ! " At 
length, two steamers sent by ^' la benigniUi de R6 " approach 
the Urania, and the loyal and loving Padre Capobianco in- 
vokes Heaven's blessmg on his head and reign, and, '* in the 
midst of the joy and affection of kmdred and friends," kisses 
his native earth. 

Every American who has travelled in Europe has some 
extraordinary anecdote to relate of the ignorance there exist- 
ing in regard to the geography, history, and condition of his, 
country ; but, perhaps, the questions asked him are nowhere 
so absurd as in Sicily. Her isolated position before the ad- 


voit of Oaribaldiy and the prevalent want of edncatioo, 
explain the phenomenon. Two things chiefly the Sidfiana 
know abont America — ^that she imports fruity sulphur, and 
rags from the island, and affords a safe asylnm for political 
refiigees. At the seaports, especially in Syracnse, our naval 
crfBoers are remembered as the most liberal of gentlemen. A 
deputation, not many years since, when the Ameri6an Bqnad- 
lon in the Mediterranean wintered there, waited on the com- 
modore, and offered to codperate with him in annexing Sicily 
to the United States. A spacious hotel was bdilt at Syracuse, 
mder the expectation that the fine harbor of that ancient city 
would become the permanent rendezvous of our fleet ; but 
the jealousy of Bomba interposed, and Mahon continued to 
be the depot of our national ships, until Spezzia was substi- 
tuted. Within a short period it was impossible to find in 
Sicily a book that could enlighten a native, in the Italian lan- 
guage, as to the actual resources and institutions of America. 
In 1863, however, one of the Palermo editors published a 
volume giving an account of his experience in the United 
States, with statistics and political facts, interspersed with no 
small amount of complacent gossip. The novelty of the 
subject then and there seemed to atone for the superficial and 
egotistic tone. Very amusmg it was to an American so- 
journer in the beautiful Sicilian capital, to glance at the 
" Viaggio nella America Settentrionale di Salvatore Abbate e 
Migliori." We have seen what kind of gossip the French 
and English indulge in while recording their experience in 
America ; let us compare with it a Sicilian's. He avows his 
object in visitmg the New World — ^to ascertain for himself 
how far the unfavorable representations of a well-known dass 
of British travellers are correct. He gravely assures his 
countrymen that, although foreigners are kindly received 
there, the Government does not pay for the transit of eiwi- 
gri$. The great characteristic which naturally impressed a 
subject of Ferdinand of Naples, was the non-interference of 
Gk>vemment with private persons and affiurs, except when 
the former have rendered themselves directly amenable to the 

law, by Bome inyndon of the rights of oihenH-«n inestimaUe 
privilege in the view of one who has lived under espiooAgey 
Mrri, and the inqmsition. All things are ganged by the law 
of contrast in this world ; and it is cnrions, with tiie bitter 
and often jnst complaints of Englishmen of the discomforts 
of travel in America fiesh in mind, to note the delight with 
which a Sicilian, accustomed to the rade lettiga^ hard mule, 
precarious fare, and risk of encotmtering bandits, expatiates 
npon the safety, the society, and abundant rations accorded 
the traveller in the Western world. '^ Ecco,'' exclaims Salva- 
tore, after describing' a delightftd Ute-MUe with a fair com- 
panion in the cars, and a hearty supper on board the steamer 
en route from Boston to New York, *' Ecco il felice modb di 
viaggiare negli Stati Uniti sia per terra che per acqua; 
divertimenti sociali e senza prejudizii, e celerity di viaggio 
libero dai furtori e dagli assassini." 

Thefeata beUs of some saint are forever rin^g in Sicily; 
and, although our traveller found holidays few and far be- 
tween in this busy land, he describes, with much zest, the first 
of May, New Tear's, and St Valentine's Day in New York. 
His journal, while there, is quite an epitome of what is so 
familiar to us as to be scarcely realized, until thus '* set in a 
note book," as the strange experience of a Southern Euro- 
pean. To him, intelligence offices for domestics, mock auc- 
tions, the Empire Club, anniversaries of national societies, 
the frequency of conflagrations, matrimonial advertisements, 
the extent of insurance, the variety and modes of worship 
of Protestant sects, the number and freedom of public jour- 
nals, the unimpeded association of the sexes, and the size and 
splendor of the fashionable stores and hotels, are features 
and facts of metropolitan life so novel as to claim elaborate 
description. Amusement is an essential element of life to an 
Italian, fostered by his sensibility to pleasant excitement, and 
his long political vassalage. Accordingly, Salvatore devotes 
no inconsiderable portion of his book to the public entertain- 
ments available in our cities. Few Americans ima^e how 
much an enthusiastic foreigner can find to gratify his taste 


and divert his mind in New York. The careers of the ode- 
farated English actors, Italian opera singers, and G^erman 
pianists, the concerts of Ole Boll and De Meyer, the militaiy 
balls, travelling circuses, public dinners, private sairieBj and 
theatres, afford Salvatore a theme upon which he dUatea as 
only one of his sensitive and mercurial race can ; and the 
American reader is astonished to discover what abundant 
provision for the pleasure seeker may be found in our utilita- 
rian land. 

More grave interests, however, are not forgotten. A suc- 
cinct but authentic account is given of some of the aborigi- 
nal tribes; our constitutional system is clearly stated; the 
details of government in the Eastern and Middle States are 
defined ; the means and methods of education ; the cereals, 
trees, rivers, charitable institutions, agricultural and mechanic 
cal industry of the country, are intelligently explained and 
illustrated; and thus a considerable amount of important 
information afforded, altogether new to the mass of his 
countrymen. This is evidently collected from books of refer- 
ence ; and its tone and material fonn an absolute contrast to 
the light-hearted and childish egotism of the writer's own 
diary, wherein the vanity of a versifier and sentimentalism 
of a beau continually remind us of the amiable gallants and 
dilettante lUteratewra we have met among Sal^atore's country- 
men. His generalizations are usually correct, but tinctur^ 
with his national temperament. He describes the Americans 
as ^'a little cold, thoughtful, sustained, grave, positive in 
speech and argument, brave, active, intelligent, and true in 
friendship." The Northerners, he says, '* are bom with the 
instinct of work, and in physiognomy are like Europeans." 
Though there are '^not many rich, most are comfortable; 
and, though few are learned, the great majority are inteUi- 
gent. Labor is a social requisition ; moderate fortunes and 
large families abound ; and the test question in regard to a 
stranger is, ' What can he do ? ' " He sums up the peculiar 
advantages of the country as consisting of *' a good climate, 
a fertile soil, salubrious air and water, abundance of provia- 


ions, adequate pay for labor, good laws, a&ble women, en- 
oouragements to matrimony, freedom, and public education'' 
' — each and all of whiob be seems to appreciate from the con- 
trast they afford to the dvil wrongs and social limitations of 
bis own beautiful land, not then emancipated from the most 
degrading of modem despotisms. He notes the temperature 
with care, and has occasion to realize its extreme alternations. 
To a Sicilian, a snowstorm and sleighing must prove a winter 
oamiyal ; and Salvatore gives a chapter to what he calls ^ La 
dtti nel giubello della neve.'' He finds the American women 
charming, and marvels at the extent and variety of their edu- 
cational discipline, giving the programme of studies in a 
fashionable female seminary as one of the wonders of the 
land; and also a catalogue of popular and gifted female 
writers, as an unprecedented social fact in his experience. 
Salvatore was a great reader of newspapers whUe in this 
country, and was in the habit of transcribing, f^om those 
'^charts of busy life," characteristic incidents and articles 
wherewith to illustrate his record of life in America. He 
was puffed by editorial friends, and mentions such compli- 
ments, as well as the publication of some of his own verses, 
with no little complacency ; as, for instance, *' Quest' oggi, 
contra ogui mia aspettazione, si ^ pubblicato nel giomale — 
Evening Potit^ un elogio dando a conoscere agli Americani lo 
scopo del mio viaggio," Ac. ; and elsewhere, ^^ il mio addio 
all' America e stato messo in musica." 

One of the latest publications of Italian origin, although 
written in the French language and by a French citizen, is 
that of a Corsican officer, one of Prince Napoleon's suite, on 
his brief visit to the United States, in the summer of 1861.* 

Eighteen hundred leagues traversed in two months, " more 
with eyes than ears or mind," would seem to afford a most 
inadequate basis for discussion where grave facts of national 
polity and character are its subjects ; but when the author of 
such a record begins by confessing himself mistaken as a 

* "Lettres snr les £tats-Unid d*Ameriqae,*' par le Lieutenant-Colonel 
Ferri FiMni, Aide-de-camp do S. A. I. le Prince Napoleon, Paris, 186S. 

866 amjdboojl axd hbr ooioiXBrrATOBS. 

prophet, and dindaimg all pretendoiis io' other aoGoraey and 
mtaiest than can be found in a ^ point de yne gmeni^^ and 
*^ portraits saisis an vol,'' and ^ resumes de conyersatioiui fhgi- 
lirai'' ire aeeqpl hit rq^<nrt and specidationB with seet, if not 
with entire satisfaction, and a c eompiy hia n^id expedition, 
animated descriptions, and thoughtful tihoi^ haatj oom- 
mentary, with the more pleasure inasmuch a& the tnapg 
and tone of both indicate an experi^iced traveller, a shrewd 
observer, and a cnltiYated thinker. The time of this visit 
and date of its record give thereto an interest apart from any 
intrinsic claim. America had just been converted frcmi a 
world of peaceful industry to a scene of civil war. The 
Gallic visitors c<Hnpared the crisis to that which had onoe 
hurled France into anarchy and military despotism ; and be- 
held here a mighty army improvised in the Free States, with 
no apparent check to their industrial prosperity ; and govern- 
mental powers assumed to meet the exigency without pro* 
yoking any popular distrust in the rectitude of the anthori- 
ties or the safety of their rights ; arrests, proscription, and 
enlistments were sanctioned by public confidence ; in a word, 
the patriotism of an inatrticted people was the safeguard of 
the republia 

It is ren\arkable that a writer whose mind was so pre- 
occupied with the exciting military scenes and imminent 
political problems of the day, should have become so thor- 
oughly and justly impressed with the religious phenomena 
of the Eastern States, tracing their development from the 
Pilgrims to Edwaxds, and thence to Whitfield and Channing; 
and the conflicts of faith thus foreshadowed. ^' Les ilStato- 
Unis,^ he writes, '^ pr^sentent en ce moment des spectades 
bien 6mouvants. Les armies s'entrechoquent sur tons les 
points de leur immense territoire. Une race qui semUait 
devoir realiser Tideal pacifique de lliumanit^ modeme se 
transforme tout k coup en un peuple belliqueux et se dechire 
de ses propres mains. D^autre part Tesclavage se dresse, au 
milieu des horreurs de la guerre, come une question de vie ou 
de mort, devant laquelle reculent et le philosophe, et Fhomme 


d'6tat et P^oonomiste. Eh bien ! fant41 youb Pavoner, mon 
oolond, tons oes fSedts extraordinaires, dont nous sommes 
temoins, et qui rempliront un jour Phistoire de ce aiede, out 
& mes yeox une portee moins redoutable que cdai que nous 
venons de trouver 4 Boston, on de ces faits qui booleversent 
la condition de I'hbmme, saos s'inscrirey comme les granda 
6yenements politdquea, en traits de feu et du sang, dans sa 
m&noire. Je veux parler de Petablissement da D^isme dans 
le noaveau monde sous la forme d'une religion, d'une Eglise, 
du Deisme, non plus enseign^ par une philosopbie speculatiyet 
mais pratique comme un culte, comme un prinoipe moral et 
social, par Polite de la soci6t6 Americaine, et faisant, an d6- 
pens du Frotestantisme, les progr^ les plus effirayants." 
Thereupon we have a treatise on ^^Protestantism," from 
Edwards and Whitfield to Chanmng; the Puritans, the 
voluntary church system, rationalism, Ac, ^^ &oe k face aveo 
le Catholidsme ;" and he concludes with the prophecy that 
^^ ce sera entre ces deux champions que se livrera le combat 
supreme qui d^cidera des destinies futures de Phumanit6." 

Colonel PisanPs letters are a striking illustration of the 
facilities of modern traveL He describes the complete and 
elegant appointments of the swift and safe steam yacht in 
which Prince Napoleon, his wife, and suite, after visiting 
various points of tiie Old World, crossed the ocean, and, in a 
very few weeks, saw half a continent. They entered the 
harbor of New York, after days of cautious navigation 
owing to the dense fog, which, fortunately, and almost dra- 
maticaUy, lifted just as they sailed up the beautiful bay, re- 
vealing, under the limpid effulgence of a summer day, a speo- 
tacle which enchanted the Colonel, familiar as he was with 
the harbors of Naples and Constantinople. 

The reader can scarcely help finding a parallel in this sud- 
den and delightful change in the natural landscape, with that 
which exists between the preface and the text of this work, 
in regard to the national cause. Arriving at the moment 
when the defeat of the Federal army at Bull Bun had spread 
dismay among the conservative traders, and wanned to im* 


pradent exultation the traitors of the North, all the traTet 
lere heard from the official representatiyeB of their conntiy 
who greeted their arrival, was discouraging — ^almost hopeless 
for the republic. His Highness thought otherwise, and 
▼iewed the national cause with unshaken confidence; but 
Colonel Pisani, in giving his letters to the public, a year 
afterward, found himself obliged to retract prematare fore- 
bodings, and admit a reaction and reversal, not only of the 
fortunes of war, but of the vital prospects of the nation. 
Midsummer is the worst period of the year for a foreigner to 
arrive in New York — a fact this writer scarcely appreciated, 
as he regards the deserted aspect of the palatial residences as 
their normal condition, and speaks of the then appearance of 
the population as if it were characteristic Surprised by the 
courteous urbanity of those with whom he came in contact 
in shops, streets, and public conveyances, he contrasts this 
superiority of manners with his anticipations of ruffianism, 
and with the utter neglect of municipal methpd and decency. 
The American steamboats and railways are fuUy discussed 
and described. Broadway seems to Pisani a bazaar a league 
and a half in length. He misses the taste in dress familiar 
to a Parisian's eye, thinks the horses and harnesses fine, but 
the horsemen and equipages inferior. Despite 'Mes indus- 
tries de luxe," men of leisure, varied culture, and special 
tastes seemed quite rare, and the average physiognomy mi- 
attractive. The architecture and aspect of the hotels strike 
him as sombre compared with those of Paris ; and he de- 
clares every gamin of that metropolis would ridicule our 
popular and patriotic ^^ as childish attempts thereat, which 
he attributes to the basis of Anglo-Saxon reserve in the na- 
tional character, wherein ^^ Fexpression de la pens^e est rare- 
ment dans un rapport exact avec la pensce elle-m^me.'* De- 
centralization, and all its phenomena, naturally impress his 
mind, accustomed to routine and method ; and the manner of 
recruiting and organizing — ^in fact, the whole military rhgime 
of the country— offers salient points of comment and criticism 
to one who has long witnessed the results of professional life 


in this sphere. Vifiiting Fhiladelpbia, Waslmigtoii, and the 
great lakes, adapting themselves to the cnstoms and the peo- 
ple, examining all thiogs with good-natnred intelligence, this 
reoord contains many acnte remarks and snggestive generali- 
zations. We have numerous portraits of individuals, sketches 
of scenery, reflections on the past, and speculations as regards 
the future. The absence of a concierge at the White House, 
the naivete of the new President, the character and principles 
of statesmen and of parties, are subjects of candid discus- ^ 
sion. The mines of Lake Superior, the community of Rapp- 
ists, McCormick's manufactory of ^'engins agricoles," the 
local trophies and the economical resources of the country, 
find judicious mention. While the Colonel is indignant at 
the " curiosity brutale " encountered in the West, he pays a 
grateful tribute to the hospitality of the people. At Pitts- 
burg, the site of Fort Duquesne, he reverts with pride and 
pathos, to the French domination on this continent, recalls its 
military successes, and laments its final overthrow. At Mount 
Yemon he thinks of Lafayette's last visit, and sadly contrasts 
that period of republican enthusiasm and prosperity with the 
sanguinary conflict of the passing hour. Lideed, the value 
and interest of these letters consist in the vivid glimpses 
they afford of the darkest hour in our history as a free peo- 
ple, and the indirect but authentic testipiony thus afforded to 
the recuperative and conservative power of our institutions 
and national character. Colonel Pisani accompanied Prince 
Napoleon in his visits to the camps of both armies, and heard 
their respective officers express their sentiments freely. Rare 
in the history of war is such an instance of dual observation 
apparently candid ; seldom has the same pen recorded, within 
a few hours, impressions of two hostile forces, their aspect, 
condition, aims, animus^ and leaders. Rapid as was the jour- 
ney and hasty the inspection, we have many true and .vivid 
pictures and portraits ; and it is interesting to not^ how 
gradually but surely the latent resources of the country, the 
absolute instincts of the popular will, and the improved be- 
cause sustained force of the Government, are revealed to the 


mind of this pleasant racorUeitrj who brings home to the 
American reader the moral crisis, so memorable in the retro- 
spect, which succeeded our premature battle for national 
honor and life — whose vital current, thus baffled, shrank back 
to the heait of the republic, only to return with fresh and 
permanent strength to every vein in the body politic, and 
vitalize the popular brain and heart with concentrated patri- 
otic scope, insight, and action. Absorbing, however, as was 
the question of the hour even to a casual sojourner, the 
physical, social, and economical traits of the country were 
only more sympathetically examined by the intelligent party 
of the Prince because of the war cloud that overhung them ; 
and we are transported from inland sea and lonely prairie to 
the capital of New England, where, says the Colonel, ^' for 
the first time I believed myself in Europe," and to quite other 
sodety than the governmental circles at Washington or the 
financial cliques of New York. At Cambridge and Bos- 
ton, with Agassiz, Felton, Everett, and others, he found con- 
genial minds. The speech of the latter at a parting banquet 
given the Piince, is noted as a model of tact and rhetoric ; 
while " Vive la France," the refrain of Holmes' song, with 
happy augury cheered their departure. 




washinoton; mbs. kibkland; ibying; amebioan illustba- 
TiYE lttebatitbb; bioobafht; msTOBT; manuals; obatobt; 
bomance; fobtbt; local fictubes; eysbbtt, hawthobne, 


Thebe is one class .of travellers in America that have 
peculiar claims upon native sympathy and consideration ; for 
neither foreign adventure nor royal patronage, nor even pri- 
vate emolument, prompted their joumeyings. Natives of 
the soil, and inspired either by scientific or patriotic enthusi- 
asm — not seldom by both — they strove to make one part of 
our vast country known to the other ; to reveal the natural 
beauties and resources thereof to their neighbors, and to 
Europeans ; and to promote national development by careful 
exploration and faithful reports. All the intelligent pioneers 
of our border civilization more or less enacted the part of 
beneficent travellers. Public spirit, in colonial and later times, 
found scope in expeditions which opened paths through the 
wilderness, tested soil, climate, and natural productions, and 
estimated the facilities hitherto locked up in primeval soli- 

872 AMESOOJl xsd heb ooiqcentatobs. 

tndes. Washington's early sorveys, Boone's first sojourn in 
the woods of Kentucky, Clinton's visit to Western New 
York to trace the course of the Eric Canal, are examples of 
this incidental kind of home travel, so useful to the early 
statesmen and the political economists. At subsequent 
periods, the natural features of the Great West were revealed 
to us by Flint and Hall ; New England local and social traits 
were agreeably reported by Tudor and Dwight ; Lewis and 
Clarke gave the first authentic glimpses of the Rocky Moun- 
tains and the adjacent plains, afterward so bravely traversed 
by Fremont and others; and Schoolcraft gathered up the 
traditions and the characteristics of those regions still occu- 
pied by the aborigines; and while Audubon tracked the 
feathered creation along the whole Atlantic coasti Percival 
examined every rood of the soil of Connecticut. 

Among the most interesting of the early native travellers 
in America, are the two Bartrams. Their instinctive fond- 
ness for nature, a simplicity and veneration bom of the best 
original Quaker influence, and habits of rural work and medi- 
tation, throw a peculiar charm around the memoirs of these 
kindly and assiduous naturalists, and make the account they 
have left of their wanderings fresh and genial, notwithstand- 
ing the vast progress since made .in the natural sciences. 
John Bartram's name is held in grateful honor by botanists, 
as ^'the first Anglo-American who conceived the idea of 
establishing a botanic garden, native and exotic.'' He was 
lured to this enterprise, and its kindred studies, by the habit 
of collecting American plants and seeds for his friend, Peter 
Collinson, of London. Encouraged by him, Bartram began 
to investigate and experiment in this pleasant field of inquiry. 
He was enabled to confirm Logan's theory in regard to maice, 
and to illustrate the sexes of plants. From such a humble 
and isolated beginning, botany expanded in this country into 
its present elaborate expositions. The first systematic enu- 
meration of American plants was commenced in Holland, by 
Oronovius, from descriptions furnished by John Clayton, of 
Virginia. As early as 1732, Mark Catesby, of Virginia, had 


published a yolmne on the ^^ Natural SBstory of Carolina, 
Florida, and the Bahamas.*' Colden, of New York, corre- 
sponded with European botanists, from his sylvan retreat 
near Newburg. We have already noticed the visit to 
America of a pupil of Linnaeus — ^Peter Kalm. The labors 
of Logan, Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Adam Euhn of Philadelphia, 
the first professor of botany there, the establishment of Ho- 
sack's garden in New York, Dr. Schoefi, Humphrey Mar- 
shall, Dr. CuUen of Berlin, the two Michauxs, Clinton, and 
the Abb^ Correa, promoted the investigation and elucidation 
of this science in America, until it became associated with the 
more recent accomplished expositors. But with the earliest 
impulse and record thereof, the name of John Bartram is 
deHghtfully associated ; and it is as a naturalist that he made 
those excursions, the narrative of which retains the charm of 
ingenuous zeal, integrity, and kindliness. John Bartram was 
bom in Delaware, then Chester County, Penn., in 1690. His 
great-grandfather had lived and died in Derbyshire, England ; 
his grandfather followed William Penn to the New World, 
and settled in the State which bears the famous Quaker's 
name; his father married, ^'at Darby meeting, Elizabeth 
Hunt," and had three sons, of whom John, the eldest, in- 
herited from an uncle the farm. His early education was 
meagre, as far as formal teaching is concerned. He studied 
the grammar of the ancient languages, and had a taste for 
the medical art, in which he acquired skill enough to make 
him a most welcome and efficient physician to the poor. It 
is probable that, as a simpler, seeking herbs of alleviating 
virtues, he was won to that love of nature, especially fruits, 
flowers, and plants, which became almost a ruling passion. 
But, according to the exigencies of the time and country, 
Bartram was an agriculturist by vocation, and assiduous 
therein ; yet this did not prevent his indulging his scientific 
love of nature and his philosophic instinct : he observed and 
he reflected while occupied about his farm. The laws of 
vegetation, the loveliness of flowers, the mysteries of growth, 
were to him a perpetual miracle. To the thrift and aim- 


pHdty of life common among the original farmers of Amer- 
ica, he united an ardent love of knowledge and an admira- 
tion of the processes and the products of nature-^partlj a 
sentiment and partly a scientific impulse. Purchasing a tract 
on the banks of the Schuylkill, three miles from Philadelphia, 
he built, with his own hands, a commodious dwelling, culti- 
vated five acres as a garden, and made continual journeys in 
search of plants. The place became so attractive, that visit- 
ors flocked thither. By degrees he gained acquidntances 
abroad, established correspondence and a system of ex- 
changes with botanists, and so lud the foundation of botani- 
cal enterprise and taste in America. This hale, benign, and 
wise man, rarely combining in his nature the zeal and ob- 
servant habitude of the naturalist with the serene self-posses- 
sion of the Friend, travelled over a large part of the country, 
explored Ontario, the domain of the Iroquois, the shores and 
sources of the Hudson, Delaware, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, 
Alleghany, and San Juan. At the age of seventy he visited 
Carolina and Florida. 

Peter Collinson wrote of him to Golden as a " wonderful 
natural genius, considering his education, and that he was 
never out of America, but is a husbandman." ^' His obser- 
vations," he adds, ^' and accounts of all natural productions, 
are much esteemed here for their accuracy. It is really 
astonishing what a knowledge the man has attained merely 
by the force of industry and his own genius." 

The journal* of his tour was sent to England, and was 
published " at the instance of several gentlemen." The pre- 
face' shows how comparatively rare were authentic books of 
Travel from natives of America, and how individual were 
Bartram^s zeal and enterprise in this respect. ^' The inhab- 
itants of all the colonies," says the writer, " have eminently 

* ** Observations on the Climate, Soil, Rivers, Productions, &c., made by 
John Bartram in his Travels from Pensilvonia to Onondaga, Oswego, and 
the Lake Ontario in -Canada ; to which is annexed a Curious Account of the 
Cataracts of Niagara, by Mr. Peter Kalm, a Swedish Gentleman who travelled 
there,'' London, 1761. 


deserved the character of indastrions in agricultare and 
commerce. I could wish they had as well deserved that of 
adventurous inland discoverers ; in this they have been mnch 
outdone by another nation, whose poverty of country and 
unsettled temper have prompted them to such views of ex- 
tending their possessions, as our agriculture and commerce • 
make necessary for us to imitate.'' 

The region traversed by Bartram a little more than a cen- 
tury ago, and described in this little volume, printed in the 
old-fashioned type, and bearing the old imprimatur of Fleet 
street, is one across and around which many of us have flown 
in the rail car, conscious of little but alternate meadows, 
woodland, streams, and towns, all denoting a thrifty and 
populous district, with here and there a less cultivated tract. 
Over this domain Bertram moved slowly, with his senses 
quickened to take in whatsoever of wonder or beauty nature 
exhibited. He experienced much of the exposure, privation, 
and precarious resoirces which befall the traveller to-day on 
our Western frontier ; and it is difficult to imagine that the 
calm and patient naturalist, as he notes the aspects of nature 
and the incidents of a long pilgrimage, is only passing over 
the identical ground which the busy and self-absorbed vota- 
ries of traffic and pleasure now daily pass, with scarcely a 
consciousness of what is around and beside them of natural 
beauty or productiveness. It is worth while to retrace the 
steps of Bartram, were it only to realize anew the eternal 
truth of our poet's declaration, that 

** To him who in the love of nature holds 
Commimion with her Tisible forms, she speais 
A varied language.*' 

It was on the Sd of July, 1743, that John Bartram set 
out, with a companion, from his home on the Schuylkill. His 
narrative of that summer journey from the vicinity of Phila- 
delphia to Lake Ontario, reads like the journal of some intel- 
ligent wayfarer in the far West ; for the plants and the ani- 

[ ■ 


mals, the face of the country, the traveller's expedients, the 
Indian camps, and the isolated plantations, bring before us a 
thinly scattered people and wild region, whereof the present 
features are associated with all the objects and influences of 
dvilization. Flocks of wild turkeys and leagues of w3d 
grass are early noted ; the variety and character of the trees 
afford a constant *and congenial theme ; swamps, ridges, hol- 
lows alternate ; chestnuts, oaks, pines, and poplars are silent 
but not unwelcome comrades ; snakes, as usual, furnish cari- 
ous episodes : Bartram observed of one, that he ^' contracted 
the muscles of his scales when provoked, and that, after the 
mortal' stroke, his splendor diminished.*' He remarks, at one 
place, ^Hhe impression of shells upon loose stones;" he is 
annoyed by gnats ; and, in an Indian lodge, ^' hung up his 
blanket like a hammock, that he may lie out of fleas." He 
lingers in an old aboriginal orchard well stocked with fruit 
trees ; swims creeks, coasts rivers, lives on duck, deer, and 
** boiled squashes cold ;" smokes a pipe—" a customary civilr 
ity," he sayii, " when parties meet" Here he finds " excellent 
flat whetstones," there "an old beaver dam;" now "roots 
of ginseng," and again "sulphurous mud;" one hour he is 
drenched with rain, and another enraptured by the sight of a 
magnolia ; here refreshed by the perfume of a honeysuckle, 
and there troubled by a yellow wasp. No feature or phase 
of nature seems to escape him. He notes the earth beneath, 
the vegetation around, and the sky above; fossils, insects, 
Indian ceremonies, flowers ; the expanse of the " dismal wil- 
derness," the eels roasted for supper, and the moss and fun- 
gus as well as locusts and caterpillars. He travelled on foot 
to the Onondaga, and paddled down in a bark canoe to the 
Oneida, " down which the Albany traders come to Oswego." 
He stops at a little town thereabout " of four or five cabins," 
where the people live "by catching fish and assisting the 
Albany people to haul their bateaux." In this region of 
railways and steamboats, such were then the locomotive 
facilities. Nor less significant of its frontier wilderness is 
Bartram's description of the spot which has long flourished 


as the grain depot and forwarding mart of Western New 
York, where immense warehouses line the river, and fleets of 
barges, steamers, and schooners cluster along the lake shore. 
Oswego is identified with his picture mainly by the topogra- 
phy. " On the point formed by the entrance of the river 
stands the fort, or Trading Castle. It is a strong stone house, 
encompassed by a stone wall twenty feet high and one hun- 
dred and twenty paces round, built of large square stones 
very curious for their softness. I cut my name in it with my 
knife. The town consists of about seventy log houses, of 
which half are in a row near the river ; the other half oppo- 
site to them, on the other side of a fair, where two streets 
are divided by a row of posts in the midst, where each Indian 
has his house to lay his goods, and where any of the traders 
may traffic with him. This is surely an excellent regulation 
for preventing the traders from imposing on the Indians. 
The chief officer in command at the castle keeps a good look- 
out to see when the Indians come down the lake with their 
poultry and furs, and sends a canoe to meet them, which con- 
ducts them to the castle, to prevent any person enticing them 
to put ashore privately, treating them with spirituous liquors, 
and then taking that opportunity of cheating them. Oswego 
is an infant settlement made by the province of New York, 
with the noble view of gaining to the crown of Great Britain 
the command of the five lakes ; and the dependence of the 
Indians in their neighborhood to its subjects, for the benefit 
of the trade upon them, and of the rivers that empty them- 
selves into them. At present the whole navigation is carried 
on by Indian bark canoes ; but a good Englidmian cannot be 
without hopes of seeing these great lakes one day a6customed 
to English navigation. It is true, the famous Fall of Niagara 
is an insurmountable barrier to all passage by water from the 
Lake Ontario into the Lake Erie. The honor of first discov- 
ering these extensive fresh-water seas is certainly due to the 
French. The traders from New York come hither up the 
Mohawk River, but generally go by land from Albany to 
Schenectady ; about twenty miles from the Mohawk the car- 


riage is bat three miles to the river, that falls into the Oneida 
Lake, which discharges itself into the Onondaga Rirer. It 
is evident, from the face of the earth, that the water of Lake 
Ontario has considerably 'diminished.^' 

It is interesting to contrast the vagne and timid conjeo- 
tm^s of Bartram with the subsequent facts in the develop- 
ment of that intercourse between the lakes, the far interior, 
and the scacoast, whence dates so much of the commercial 
and agricultural prosperity not only of the State of New 
York, but of the metropolis, and the vast regions of the 
West. Bartram observed, at Oswego, '^ a kitchen garden and 
a graveyard to the southwest of the castle," which reminds 
him that '^ the neighborhood of this lake is esteemed un- 
healthful.'' This opinion, however, refers only to a large 
swampy district, and not to the elevated site of the present 
town. Draining and population have long since redeemed 
even the low lands from this insalubrity ; and now, in conse- 
quence of the constant winds from that immense body of 
pure water, Oswego enjoys a better degree of health than 
any place in Western New York. Its summer climate is 
preferable to that of any inland city of the State. Bartram 
notes many traits of Indian life there — ^the girls playing with 
beans, and the squaws addicted to rum, and '' drying huckle- 
berries.'' As usual, he expatiates on the trees, and especially 
admires specimens of the arbor vitse and white lychinns. 
The last entry in this quaintly pleasing journal is characteria- 
tio of the writer's domestic and religious faith, and of the 
adventurous nature of a tour which then occupied seven or 
eight weeks, and is now practicable in a few hours. Under 
date of August 19th, he writes : ^^ Before sunset I had the 
pleasure of seeing my own home and family, and found them 
in good health ; and with a sincere mind I returned thanks to 
the Almighty Power that had preserved us all." 

At an advanced age Bartram embarked at Philadelphia 
for Charleston, S. C, and went thence, by land, through a 
portion of Carolina and Georgia, to St. Augustine, in Florida. 
While there, he received the appointment of botanist and 


naturalist to the king of England, with directions to trace 
the San Juan River to its source. Leaving St. Augustine, he 
embarked in a boat at Picolata, ascended and descended that 
beautiful river nearly four hundred miles, making careful 
observations not only as to distances, width, depth, currents, 
shores, <fec., but recording all the physical facts, vegetable 
and animal. The full and accurate report thereof he sent to 
the^ Board Of Trade and Plantations, in England. The labor 
of love this exploration proved to him, may be imagined 
from the enthusiastic terms in which Florida, its coast, its 
flowers, and its climate, are described by subsequent naturalists, 
especially Audubon and Agassiz. The latter thinks the com- 
bination of tropical and western products and aspects there 
unrivalled in the world. It is, indeed, a paradise for the 
naturalist, from its wonderful coral reefs to its obese turtles, 
and from its orange groves, reminding the traveller of Sicily, 
to its palms, breathing of the East. When old John Bar- 
tram, in his lonely boat, glided amid its fertile solitudes, it 
was a virgin soil, not only to the step of civilization, but the 
eye of science ; and later and far more erudite students of 
nature have recognized the honest zeal and intelligent obser- 
vation wherewith the venerable and assiduous botanist of the 
Schuylkill recorded the wonders and the beauty of the scene. 
But it was amid his farm and flowers that Bartram appeared 
to memorable advantage. His manners, habits, and appear- 
ance, his character and conversation, seem to have em- 
bodied, in a remarkable manner, the idea of a rural citizen of 
America as cherished by the repubjican enthusiasts of Eu- 
rope. The comfort, simplicity, self-respect, native resources, 
and benign faith and feeling incident to a free country life, 
religious education, and anew land, were signally manifest in 
the home of the Quaker botanist A Russian gentleman, 
who visited him in 1769, describes these impressions in a let- 
ter. He was attracted to Bartram's house from knowing him 
as a correspondent of French and Swiss botanists, and even 
of Queen Ulrica, of Sweden. Approaching his home, the 
neatness of the buildings, the disposition of fields, fences, 


and trees, the perfect order and the prosperona indnatry 
parent, won the stranger^s heart at a glance. Not was 
less charmed with the greeting he received from ^^ a 'wom 
at the door, in a simple but neat dress,'^ in answer to his 
quiry for the master. ^^ If thee will step in and take a cfaa 
I will send for him." He preferred walking over the far 
Following the Schnylkill, as it woond among the meadon 
he reached a place where *ten men were at work, and ask 
for Mr. Bartram ; whereupon one of the group, ^' an eldei 
man, with wide trousers and a large leather apron on, sai 
" My name is Bartram ; dost thee want me ? " " Sir,** repli. 
the visitor, " I came on purpose to converse, if you can ' 
spared from your labor." " Very easily," he replied ; an 
returning to the house, the host changed his clothes, i 
appeared, conducted his guest to the garden, and they pass 
many hours in a conversation so delectable, that the forei| 
visitor grows enthusiastic in his delight at this unique coml 
nation of labor and knowledge, simplicity of life and 8tu< 
of nature. One remark of Bartram's recalls a similar one < 
Sir Walter Scott's, as to the best results of literary fam^ 
and it is a strikmg coincidence in the experience of two i 
nature's noblemen, so widely separated in their pursuits ai 
endowments : " The greatest advantage," observed the rm 
philosopher to his Russian visitor, "which I receive fro 
what thee callest my botanical fame, is the pleasure which 
often procures me in receiving the visits of friends and f< 
eigners." Summoned to dinner by a bell, they entered 
large hall where was spread a long table, occupied, at tl 
lower end, by negroes and hired men, and, at the other, 1 
the family and their guest. The venerable father and I 
wife " declined their heads in prayer " — which " grace befo 
meat," says the visitor, was " divested of the tedious cant i 
some, and ostentatious style of others." Nor was he Ic 
charmed with the plain but substantial fare, the cordial ms 
ners, the amenities of the household, and the dignity of i 
head. Madeira was produced ; an uEolian harp vibrated nc 
lodiously to the summer breeze ; and they talked botany ai 



agrioultare to their hearths content. The knowledge of Bar- 
tram surprised his auditor. He found a coat of arms amid 
all this primitive life, and learned that it was possible to unite 
the simplicity of American with the associations of European 
domiciles. To him, the scene and the character whence ema- 
nated its best charmi, were a refreshing novelty; and he 
endeavors to solve the mystery by frankly questioning his 
urbane host, whose story was clear enough. "'What a 
9hame,' said my mind, or something that inspired my mind,'* 
observed the latter, in explaining the first impulse to his 
career, '^ ' that thou shouldst have employed so many years in 
tilling the earth, and destroying so many flowers and plants, 
without being acquainted with their structure and their 
uses.' By steady application," he added, '^ for several years, 
I have acquired a pretty general knowledge of every plant 
and tree to be found on this continent." But it was the social 
j)henomena of Bartram's house that impressed '^ the stranger 
within his gates," not less than the " pursuit of knowledge 
under difficulties ; " the skilful method of the farming opera- 
tion ; the deference, without servility, of the workmen ; the 
gentie bearing of the negroes, and the serene order and dig- 
nity, yet cheerfulness of the household, struck the habitue 
of courts as a new phase of civilization. He became enam- 
ored of the Friends, attributing much of what he admired in 
Bartram and his surroundings to their influence. He so- 
journed among them in the vicinity, attended their meetings, 
and, after two months thus passed, declared " they were the 
golden days of my riper years.^' Few and far between are 
such instances of primitive character and association now 
exhibited to the stranger's view in our over-busy and ex- 
travagant land. It is pleasant to look back upon those days, 
and that venerable, industrious, benign philosopher; to re- 
member his pleasant letters to and from Franklin, Bard, 
Logan, Catesby, and Golden at home, and Gronovius, Sir 
Hans Sloane, Collinson, and Fothergill abroad; the medal 
he received from "a society of gentiemen in Edinburgh;" 
the seeds he sent Michaux and Jefferson ; the books sent him 


by Linnsens. It is pleasant to retrace that peaceful and wise 
career to its painless and cheerful close — the career of one 
whose great ambition was the hope, as he said, "^ of discoTer- 
ing and introducing into my native country some original 
productions of nature which might be useful to society;** 
and who could honestly declare, ^' My chief happiness con- 
sisted in tracing and admiring the infinite power, majesty, 
and perfection of the great Almighty Creator." Philosopher 
as he was, he never coveted old age ; dreaded to become a 
burden ; hoped ^^ there would be little delay when death 
domes ; " and deemed the great rule of life ^' to do justice, 
love mercy, and walk humbly before God." Cheerful and 
active to the age of seventy-eight, he died content, Septem- 
ber 22, 1777. His name stands next to Franklin's in the 
record of the American Philosophical Society. The war of 
the Revolution shortened his days ; as the approach of the 
royal army, after the battle of Brandywine, agitated hinh 
with fear that his '^ darling garden," the ^^ nursling of half a 
century," might be laid waste. 

Bartram was a genuine Christian philosopher. His health- 
ful longevity was mainly owing to his temperance and out^f- 
door life, the tranquil pleasures ho cultivated, and the even 
temper he maintained. Hospitable, industrious, and active, 
both in body and mind, he never found any time he could not 
profitably employ. Upright in fonn, animation and sensibil- 
ity marked his features. He was " incapable of dissimula- 
tion," and deemed " improving conversation and bodily exer- 
dse " the best pastimes. Meditative, a reader of Scripture, 
he was bom a Quaker, but his creed was engraved by his 
own hand over the window of his study — a simple but fer- 
vent recognition of God. 

It is as delightful as it is rare to behold the best tastes 
and influence of a man reproduced and prolonged in his de- 
scendants; and this exceptional trait of American life we 
find in tl^ career and character of John Bartram's son 
William, who was bom at the Botanic Garden, Eingsessing, 
Pennsylvania, in 1739, and died in 1823. One of his early 


tutors was Charles Thomson, so prominent in the Continental 
Congress. He began life as a merchant, but was formed, by 
nature, for the naturalist and traveller he became. A letter 
firom John Bartram to his brother, dated in 1761, alludes to 
this son as if his success in business was doubtful : ^' I and 
most of my son Billy's relations are concerned that he never 
writes how his trade a&irs succeed. We are afraid he doth 
not make out as well as he expected.'' Having accompanied 
his father in the expedition to East Florida, he settled on the 
banks of the St. John River^ after assisting in the explora- 
tion of that region. In 1774 he returned to his home ia 
Pennsylvania ; and soon after, at the instance of Dr. Fotlier- 
gill, of London, made a second scientific tour through Flor- 
ida. His observations on the Creek and Cherokee Indians 
there made were written out in 1789, and have been recently 
reprinted from the original manuscript, by the American Eth- 
nological Society. He aided Wilson in his ornithological 
investigations, and Barton in his ^' Elements of Botany," of 
which science he was elected professor by the university of 
his native State. Dunlap the painter, and Brockden Brown 
the novelist, refer to him with interest ; and the former has 
left a personal description of him, as he appeared when vis- 
ited by the writer, whereby we recognize the identical sim- 
plicity of life, brightness of mind, industry, kindliness, and 
love of nature which distinguished his father. " His counte- 
nance," says Dunlap, '^ was expressive of benignity and hap- 
piness. With a rake in his hand, he was breaking the dods 
of earth in a tulip bed. His hat was old, and flapped over 
his face. His coarse shirt was seen near his neck, as he wore 
no cravat. His waistcoat and breeches were both of leather, 
and his shoes were tied with leather strings. We approached 
and accosted him. He ceased his work, and entered into con- 
versation with the ease and politeness of nature's nobleman." 
A similar impression was made upon another visitor in 1819, 
who informs us that the white hair of William Bartram, as 
he stood in his garden and talked of Rittenhouse and Frank- 
lin, of botany and of nature, gave him a venerable look. 


which was in keeping with his old-fashioned dress, his genial 
manners, and his candid and wise talk. He was elected pro- 
fessor of botanj in the University of Pennsylvania in 1782, 
and ^^ made known and illustrated many of the most carious 
and beautiful plants of North America," as well as published 
the most complete list of its birds, before Wilson. " The 
latest book I know,** wrote Coleridge, " written in the spirit 
of the old travellers, is Bartram's account of his tour in the 
Floridas." It was published in Philadelphia in 1791, and in 
London the following year.* The stylo is more finished than 
kis father could command, more fluent and glowing, but 
equally informed with that genuineness of feeling and direct- 
ness of purpose which give the most crude writing an inde- 
finable but actual moral charm. The American edition was 
*^ embellished with copperplates," the accuracy and beauty 
of which, however inferior to more recent illustrations of 
natural history among us, form a remarkable contrast to the 
coarse paper and inelegant type. These incongruities, how- 
ever, add to the quaint charm of the work, by reminding us 
of the time when it appeared, and of the limited means and 
encouragement then available to the naturalist, compared to 
the sumptuous expositions which the splendid volumes of 
Audubon and Agassiz have since made familiar. In the de- 
tails as well as in the philosophy of his subject, Bartram is 
eloquent. He describes the " hollow leaves that hold water," 
and how '^ seeds are carried and softened in birds' stomachs." 
He has a sympathy for the "cub bereaved of its bear 
mother;" patiently watches an enormous yellow spider cap- 
ture, a bumblebee, and describes the process minutely. The 
moonlight on the palms ; the notes of the mockingbird in 
the luxuriant but lonely woods ; the flitting oriole and the 

• " Travels through North and South Carolina, Geoiigia, East and Wert 
Florida, tho Cherokee Country, the extensive Territories of the Muscogulgea, 
or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Choctaws ; containing an Ac- 
ooont of the Soil and Natural Productions of those Regions, together with 
Obsenratlons on the Manners of the Indians,'* embellished with copperplate 
(turtle, leaf, Ac.), by William Bartram, Philadelphia, ItQl, London, 1792. 


cooing doves ; the mullet in the crystal brine, and the moan 
of the surf at night ; the laurel's glossy leaves, the canes of 
the brake, the sand of the beach, goldfish, sharks, lagoons, 
parroquets, the cypress, ash, and hickory, Indian mounds, 
buffiilo licks, trading houses, alligators, mosquitos, squirrels, 
bullfrogs, trout, mineral waters, turtles, birds of passage, 
pelicans, and aquatic plants, are the themes of his narrative ; 
and become, in his fresh and sympathetic description, vivid 
and interesting even to readers who have no special knowl- 
edge of, and only a vague curiosity about nature. The afflu- 
ence and variety in the region described, are at once apparenl 
Now and then, something like an adventure, or a pleasant 
talk with one of his hospitable or philosophical hosts, varies 
the botanical nomenclature ; or a fervid outbreak of feeling, 
devotional or enjoyable, gives a human zest to the pictures of 
wild fertility. Curiously do touches of pedantry alternate 
with those of simplicity ; the matter-of-fact tone of Robin- 
son Crusoe, and the grave didactics of Rasselas ; a scientific 
statement after the manner of Humboldt, and an anecdote or 
inter\uew in the style of Boswell. It is this very absence of 
sustained and prevalence of desultory narrative, that make 
the whole so real and pleasant. The Florida of that day had 
its trading posts, surveyors, hunters, Indian emigrants, and 
isolated plantations, such as still mark our border settlements ; 
but nowhere on the continent did nature ofier a more ^ infi- 
nite variety ; " and the mere catalogue of her products, espe- 
cially when written with zest and knowledge, formed an 
interesting work, such as intelligent readers at home and 
abroad relished with the same avidity with which we greet 
the record of travel given to the world by a Layard or a 
Kane, only that the restricted intercourse and limited educa- 
tion of that day circumscribed the readers as they did the 

In 1825 was published, from the original manuscript, 
" The Private Journal kept by Madame Knight ; or, A Jour- 
ney from Boston to New York in the year 1704." This lady 
was regarded as a superior person in character and culture. 


She indulged in rhyme, and had a vein of romance, as is evi- 
dent from her descriptions of nature, especially of the effect 
of moonlight, and the aspect of the forest at night. This 
cmious specimen of a private diary gives us a vivid and au- 
thentic description of the state of the country, and the risks 
and obstacles of travel in a region now as populous, secure, 
and easy of access and transit as any part of the world. A 
fortnight was then occupied in a journey which is now per- 
formed several times a day in seven or eight hours. It seems 
that the fair Bostonian, even at that remote period, tinctured 
with the literary proclivities that signalize the ladies of her 
native city to this day, had certain business requiring atten- 
tion at New Haven and New York, and, after much hesita- 
tion, formed the heroic resolution of visiting those places in 
person. The journey was made on horseback. She took a 
guide from one baiting place to another, and was indebted to 
tiie "minister of the town," to the "post," and relatives 
along the route, for hospitality and escort. She often passed 
the night in miserable inns — if such they can be called — and 
was the constant victim of hard beds, indigestible or unsar 
vory food, danger from fording streams, isolated and rough 
tracks, and all the alarms and embarrassments of an " unpro- 
tected female " crossmg a partially settled country. Narra- 
ganset was a pathless wild. At New Haven she notes the 
number and mischievousness of the Indians, and that the 
young men wore ribbons, as a badge of dexterity in shooting. 
She satirizes the phraseology of the people there, sudi as 
" Dreadful pretty I " " Law, you I " and " I vow ! " and criti- 
cizes the social manners as faulty in two respects — ^too great 
familiarity with the slaves, and a dangerous facility of di- 
vorce ; yet, she remarks, though often ridiculous, the people 
" have a large portion of mother wit, and sometimes larger 
than those brought up in cities." Pumpkin and Indian bread, 
pork and cabbage, are the staple articles of food, varied, at 
"Northwalk," by fried venison. Of Fairfield she says: 
"They have abundance of sheep, whose very dung brings 
them great gain, with part of which they pay their panKm'a 


eallery ; and they grudge that, preferring their dung before 
their minister." She is charmed with the " vendues" at New 
York, where they "give drinks;" and mentions that thi 
" fireplaces have no jambs ;" and " the bricks in some of the 
houses are of divers colors, and laid in checkers, and, being 
glazed, look very agreeable." " Their diversions," she says 
of the inhabitants, " is riding in sleys about three or four 
miles out of town, where they have houses of entertainment 
at a place called the Bowery." 

Nor, among the early explorers of New England, can we 
fail to remember the intrepid John Ledyard, Captain Cook's 
companion and historiographer, and one of the bravest pio- 
neers of African travel. Bom in 1751, he ran away from the 
frontier college of Hanover, and fraternized with the abo- 
riginal Six Nations in Canada. Returning to his native 
region, he cut down a tree, and made a canoe three feet wide 
and fifty long, wherein, with bear skins and provisions, he 
floated down the Connecticut River, stopping at night, and 
reading, at intervals, Ovid and the Greek Testament. Inter- 
rupted in his lonely voyage by Bellows' Falls, he efiected a 
portage through the aid of fiu-mers and oxen, and, continuing 
his course, reached Hartford. This exploration of a river 
then winding through the wildemess, was inspired by the 
identical love of adventure and thirst for discovery which 
afterward lured him to the North of Europe, around the 
world with Cook, and into the deserts of Africa. 

Captain John Carver traversed an extent of country of at 
least seven thousand miles, in two years and a half, at a period 
when such a pilgrimage required no little courage and pa- 
tience. He was induced to undertake this long tour partly 
from a love of adventure, and, in no small degree, from pub- 
lic spirit and the desire to gain and impart useful informa- 
tion. Carver was to be seen at the reunions of Sir Joseph 
Banks, where his acquaintance with the natural productions 
of this continent made him a welcome guest ; and his strait- 
ened circumstances won the sympathy of that benign savant^ 
who promoted the sale of his " Travels," which were pub- 


lifihed in London,* and passed through three editidns. This 
work contains many facts of interest to economists and sci- 
entific men not then generally known. The narrative refers 
vto the years 1766, '67, and '68. Carver also published a 
" Treatise on the Culture of Tobacco." The region of coun- 
try described by this writer was then attracting great inquiiy 
on account of the prevalent theories regarding a Northwest 
Passage. Carver went from Boston to Green Bay via Albany, 
and explored the Indian coimtry as far as the Falls of St 
Anthony ; following, in a great degree, the course of Father 
Hennepin in 1680. He has much to say of the aborigines, 
their ceremonies, character and vocabulary, of the phe- 
nomena of the great lakas, and of the birds, fishes, trees, and 
reptiles ; although, as a reporter of natural history, soine of 
his snake stories excited distrust. Carver's enterprise, intel- 
ligence, and misfortunes, however, commend him to favor- 
able remembrance. He was bom at Stillwater, Connecticut, 
and was a captain in the French war. Dr. Lettsom wrote an 
interesting memoir of him, which was appended to the 
posthumous edition of his writings ; and it is a memorable 
fact, that the penury in which this brave seeker after knowl- 
edge died, as described by his biographer, in connection with 
his unrecognized claims as an employ^ of the English Gov- 
ernment, induced the establishment of that noble charity, the 
■Literary Fund. 

One of the French legation in the United States, in 1781, 
requested Jefferson to afford him specific information in re- 
gard to the physical resources and character of the country. 
This course is habitual with the representatives of European 
Governments, and has proved of great advantage in a com- 
mercial pomt of view ; while political economists aad histori- 
cal writers have found in the archives of diplomacy invalu- 
able materials thus secured. M. Marbois could not have 
applied to a better man for certain local facts interesting and 

* *' Trarels through the Interior Parts of North America, in lYdG-'CS," 
by John Carver, Captain of a Company of ProTincial Troops in the Uto 
French War, Svo., tliird edition, portrait, maps, and plates, London, 1^1. 


useful in themselves, and as yet but partially recorded, than 
Thomas Jefferson, who was a good obsei-ver of nature, as 
far as details are concerned, and accurate in matters where 
taste and opinion were not essential. His love of such inqui- 
ries had led him to record whatever statistical knowledge or 
curious phenomena came under his observation. As a planter, 
he had ample opportunity to observe the laws of nature, the 
methods of culture, and the means of progress open to a cir- 
cumspect agriculturist. He had read much in natural history, 
and was fond of scientific conversation ; so that, with the 
books then at command, and the truths then recognized in 
these spheres, he was in advance of most of his countrymen. 
The inquiries of Marbois induced him to elaborate and 
arrange the data he had collected, and two hundred copies of 
the work were privately printed, under the title of " Notes 
on Virginia," * a bad translation of which was soon after 
published in Paris. The reader of Jefferson's collected 
writings, whose taste has been formed by the later models 
of his vernacular authors, will not be much impressed with 
his literary talents or culture. In eloquence and argumenta- 
tive power he was far inferior to Hamilton. His memoir of 
himself has little of the frank simplicity and naive attraction 
that have made Franklin's Life a household book ; while the 
fame of the Declaration of Independence wholly eclipses any 
renown derived from the wisdom and occasional vivacity of 
his correspondence, or the curious knowledge displayed in his 
" Notes " on his native State. The eminence of the writer in 
political history and official distinction, the extraordinary cir- 
cumstances amid which he lived and acted, the part he took 
in a great social and civic experiment, his representative 
character in the world of opinion, the coincidence of his 
death with the anniversary of the most illustrious deed of his 
life, and with the demise of his predecessor in the Presidential 
office and political opponent, all throw a peculiar interest and 
impart a personal significance to what his pen recorded ; so 

* ** Kdtes on the State of Virginia,'^ Sto., map, London, 1787. 


that, although there is comparatively little of original Bcien- 
tific value in his " Notes on Virginia," they are a pleasing 
memorial of his assiduous ohservation, and are charactemtic 
of his turn of mind and hahits of thought. It has been 
justly said of the work, that " politics, commerce, and manu- 
factures are here treated of in a satisfactory and instructive 
manner, but with rather too much the air of philosophy." 
The description of the Natural Bridge, and of the scenery of 
Harper's Ferry and the Shenandoah Valley, as well as of 
other remarkable natural facts, drew many strangers to Vir- 
ginia ; and the " Notes " are often quoted by travellers, agri- 
oolturists, and philosophers. 

Captain Imlay, of the American army, is considered the 
best of the early authorities in regard to the topography of 
the Western country. The original London edition of his 
"Topographical Description of the Western Territory of 
North America,"* is the result of observations made be- 
tween 1V92 and 1797. The third edition is much enhanced 
in value as a reference, by including the works of Filson, 
Hutchins, and other kindred material. In 1793, this author 
embodied another and most interesting phase of his experi- 
ence in that then but partially known region, in a novel called 
" The Emigrants," which contains genuine pictures of life. 

The "Travels in New England and New York"f of 
Timothy Dwight are probably as little read by the present 
generation as his poetry ; and yet both, fifty or sixty years 
ago, exerted a salutary influence, and are still indicative of 
the benign intellectual activity of a studious, religious, and 
patriotic man, whose name is honorably associated with early 
American literature, as well as with the educational progress 

* " Topographical Description of the Western Territory of North Ameiv 
ioA,** by Gilbert Imlay, second edition, with large additions, 8vo., with correct 
mape of the Western Territories, 1798. Comprises a Taluable mass of mate- 
rials for the early history of the Western country, embodying the entire works 
of Filson, Hutchins, and various other tracts and original narratives. 

f " Travels in New England and New York," by Tiniothy Dwigbt, UlOs- 
trated with maps and plates, 4 thick vols., Svo., 1823. 


and theological history of New England. A descendant of 
Jonathan Edwards, a chaplain in the army of the Kevolution, 
a memher of the Connecticut Legislature, farmer, clergy- 
man, scholar, patriot, and bard, whether giving religious 
sanction to his brave countrjrmen in their struggle for free- 
dom, toiling for the support of his family, teaching, rhyming, 
talking, or filling, with assiduous fidelity, the office of Presi- 
dent of Yale College, Dwight was one of the most useful, 
consistent, and respected men of letters of his day in Amer- 
ica. Idolized by his pupils, admired by his fellow citizens, 
and the favorite companion of Trumbull, Barlow, and the 
elder Buckminster, his simple style of life harmonized nobly 
with his urbane self-respect, intellectual tastes, and public 
spirit. His revision of the Psalms of Watts was a service 
practically recognized by all sects. The conscientiousness 
which formed the basis of his character, not less than the 
exigencies of his life, promoted habits of versatile and in- 
domitable industry. In youth, his ardent nature found vent 
in verse, much of which, especially some heroic couplets, have 
the ring and emphasis of a muse enamored of nature and 
fired with patriotism. His vacations, while President of 
Yale, were devoted to travel, not in the casual manner so 
usual at the period, but with a view to explore carefnlly and 
record faithfully. It is true that, compared to the scientific 
tourists of our day, Dwight was but imperfectly equipped 
for a complete and minute investigation of nature; but, 
keenly observant, intelligent, and honest, loving knowledge 
for its own sake, and eager to diffuse as well as to acquire 
practical information, we find in this voluntary choice of 
recreation, at that period, a signal evidence of his superior 

Many comparatively unknown regions of New England 
and New York Dwight traversed on horseback, communica- 
ting the results of his journeys in letters, which were not 
given to the public until several years after his death. We 
know of no better reference for accounts of the prominent 
men and the economical and social traits of the Eastern 


States, at the period, than may be gleaned from DwighVB 
Travels. They preserve some original features and facts 
which a locomotive age has since swept away. They furnish 
an interesting picture of life in New England and New 
York, when the towns therein were scattered and lonely, the 
agricultural resources but partially developed, and the primi- 
tive tastes and customs yet dominant. Although seldom 
read, this early record of travel over scenes so familiar and 
unsuggestive to us, will be precious to the future delineator 
of manners, and even to the speculative economist and phi- 
losopher. A future Macaulay would find in them many ele- 
ments for a picturesque or statistical description ; for in such 
details, when authentic and wisely chosen, exist the materials 
of history. Among the earliest modem accounts, at all elab- 
orate, of the White Mountains, Lake George, Niagara, and 
the Catskills, are those gleaned by Timothy Dwight, in his 
lonely wanderings at a time when, to travel at all, was to 
isolate oneself, and be inspired with an individual aim, and 
the " solitary horseman " was a significant fact, instead of a 
resource of fiction.' It was Dwight's habit to take copious 
notes and accumulate local facts, which he afterward wrote 
out and illustrated at his leisure. His " Travels " were first 
published in 1821. Their range would now be thought quite 
limited ; but, in view of the meagre facilities for moving 
about then enjoyed, and the comparative absence of enter- 
prise in the way of journeys of obser\'ation, these intelli- 
gent comments and descriptions must have been very useful 
and entertaining, as they are now valuable and agreeable. 
Robert Southey, whose literary taste was singuliirly catholic, 
and who had labored enough in the field of authorship to 
duly estimate everything that contributes to the use or beauty 
of the vocation, wrote of Dwight's " Travels," in the Qtiar- 
terly Review : 

^*' Tho work before ns, though the humblest in its pretences, is 
the most important of liis writings, and will derive additional value 
f^om time, whatever may become of bis poems and sermons. A 
wish to gratify those who, a hundred years hence, might feel curios- 


itj concerning his native country, made him resolve to preserve a 
faithftil description of its existing state. He made notes, therefore, 
in the sommer vacation tours, and collected facts on the spot. The 
remarks upon natural history are those of an observant and sagacious 
man, who makes no pretensions to science ; they are more interest- 
ing, therefore, than those of a merely scientific traveller." 

Here we have another striking illostralion of the conser- 
vative worth of facts in literature over the fruits of specula- 
tion or of fancy, unless the latter are redeemed by rare 
originality. Only the most gifted poets and philosophers 
continue to be read and admired ; while the humblest gleaner 
among the facts of life and nature, if honest and assiduous, 
is remembered and referred to with gratitude and respect. 

As Commissioner of the Revenue, Tench Coxe, of Philadel- 
phia, investigated and wrote upon several economical interests 
of the country, and, in 1794, published his " View Of the United 
States of America," in a series of papers written in 1787-94.* 
There is much statistical information in regard to trade and 
manufactures during the period indicated. The progress of 
the country at that time is authentically described, and the 
resources of Pennsylvania exhibited. Two chapters of the 
work are curious— one on the ^^distilleries of the United 
States," and the other giving " information relative to maple 
sugar, and its possible value in some parts of the United 
States." The facts conmiunicated must have been useful to 
'emigrants at that period ; and, in summing up the condition 
and prospects of the country, a remarkable increase of for- 
eign commerce, shipbuilding, and manufactures, in the ten 
years succeeding the War of Independence, is shown. The 
author congratulates his fellow citizens that " the importation 
of slaves has ceased ;" that " no evils have resulted from an 
entire separation of church and state, and of ecclesiastical 
from the civil power ;" that Europeans "have rather accom- 
modated themselves to the American modes of life, than pur- 
sued or introduced those of Europe ;" that no monarchy over 

* ** yiew of the United States of America,** in a series of papers written 
between 1787 and 1794, by Tench Coxe, Sro., FhiladelQ)iia and London, 


*^ an equally numerous people has been so well able to mam- 
tain internal tranquillity;" and that the "terrifying reports 
of danger from Indians" are unfounded. The work is a 
Taloable statistical landmark of national development. 

In the year 1810, a book on America* by a native author 
excited much attention, partly from the special facts it re- 
counted, and partly because of a humorous vein, wherein 
European criticisms and travellers' complaints were met and 
refuted. The volume was timely, in some respects quite able, 
and often piquant. The literary artifice adopted served also 
to win the curious. It was pretended that Liciquin, a Jesuit, 
during a residence in the United States, had written numer- 
ous letters descriptive of the country, and in reply to current 
aspersions by prejudiced visitors — a portion of this corre- 
spondence having been discovered on a bookseller's stall, at 
Antwerp, and the "packet of letters" being published on 
this side of the water as the work of some unknown for- 
eigner. A distinct account of political parties, about which 
great misapprehensions then prevailed in Great Britain, is 
given ; numerous falsehoods then prevalent regarding the 
social condition and habits of the people are exposed ; and 
the hypercritical and fastidious objections propagated by 
shallow writers are cleverly ridiculed ; while a more kindly 
and just estimate of American manners and culture is 
affirmed. The idea of the book was excellent ; but its exe- 
cution is not commensurate tlierewith, being comparatively 
destitute of that literary tact and graceful vivacity essential 
to the complete success of such an experiment. It, however, 
served a good though temporary purpose, more adequately 
fulfilled by Walsh's " Appeal." In his account of American 
literature, the author, at that date, had but a meagre cata- 
logue to illustrate his position, Marshall's " Life of Washing- 
ton " and Barlow's " Columbiad " being most proDiinent. 
Perhaps the political information was the most important 
element of the work ; and the intimate acquaintance with our 

* ** Inciquin the Jesuit's Letters, during a late Residence in the United 
Stotefl of America,'' New York, 1810, 8yo. 


system of goyemment, and the appreciation of the social 
condition of the republic manifest throughout, suggest that, 
with the attraction of a more pleasing style, ^^ Inciquin^s Let- 
ters ^' might have claimed and won a more permanent inter- 
est. It soon became known that they were written by 
Charles J. Ingersoll, of Philadelphia, a political litterateur 
and well-known citizen, who has since figured in public life, 
and died within a few years. The London, Qaarterly^ with 
characteristic unfairness, assiuled the work, which Malicious 
criticism was promptly answered by Paulding. 

The calumnies of the English bookwrights and reviewers 
were ably confuted also by Irving, Dwight, and Everett ; but 
the most efficient and elaborate reply, at this time, emanated 
from Robert Walsh, whose industry in the collection of 
facts, practice as a writer, and familiarity with history and 
literature, made him an able champion. He had long enter- 
tained the idea of a carefully prepared work — historical, eco- 
nomical, and critical— on the United States, and had arranged 
part of the materials therefor. A peculiarly bitter and un- 
just article, ostensibly a review of "Inoiquin's Letters,'' 
induced Mr. Walsh to abandon, for the time, his intended 
work, in favor of a less elaborate but most seasonable one. 
He did not attach undue importance to these attacks, but, like 
all educated and experienced men, perceived that. the wilful 
misrepresentations and vulgar prejudice with which they 
abounded, insured their ephemeral reputation, and proved 
them the work of venal hands ; yet, in common with the 
best of his countrymen, he recognized, in the popularity of 
such shallow and often absurd tirades, in the demand as a 
literary ware of such aspersions upon the name, fame, and 
character of the republic, a degree of ignorance and preju- 
dice in England, which it became a duty to leave withopit 
excuse, by a clear and authentic statement of facts. Accord- 
ingly, his " Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain '' ♦ 

• " An Appeal from the JudgmenU of Great Britain respecting the Unit- 
ed Sutes, &c., with Strictures on the Calumnies of British Writers,** by 
Bobert Walsh, Sro., Philadelphia, 1819. 

896 JJtJESICJL AND HSB 00Xlf£I!rrAT0B8. 

appeared in 1819. Its political bias made it somewhat nnao- 
ceptable to a portion of bis comitrymen ; and, with the more 
full exposition of our intellectual resources which the growth 
of American literature has subsequently induced, it is obyi- 
ous that he might have made the argument in this regard 
more copious. But, as a whole, it was admirably done. 
Much of the testimony adduced is English ; and the chapters 
on the British maladministration of the colonies, on the hos- 
tility of "the British Reviews, and on slavery, are of present 
significance and permanent interest. It was a timely vindica- 
tion of our country, and so absolutely fixed the lie of malice 
upon many of the flippant writers in question, and the bigotry 
of prejudice upon their acquiescent readers, that an obvious 
improvement was soon apparent, especially in the Reviews — 
more care as to correctness in data, and less arrogance in 
tone. The work is a landmark to which we can now refer 
with advantage, to estimate the degree and kind of progress 
attained by the United States at the period ; and it serves no 
less effectually as a memorial of the literary, political, and 
social injustice of England. 

In addition to Irving, Ingersoll, Walsh, Everett, and 
Cooper, many of our citizens have "come to the rescue" 
abroad, in less memorable but not less seasonable and efficient 
ways. Through the journals of Europe, many a mistake has 
been corrected, many a prejudice dispelled, and many a right 
vindicated by public-spirited and intelligent citizens of the 
republic. In J^lackvoood^s Magazine^ 1823-6, for instance, 
are several articles on American writers and subjects, wherein, 
with much critical nonchalance and broad assertion, there are 
many facts and statements fitted to enlighten and interest in 
regard to this country. They were written by John Neal, of 
Portland, whose dramatic but extravagant and rapidly oon« 
cocted novels and poems, by their spirit and native flavor, had 
won theii* author fame, and gained him literary employment 
abroad; where he became a disciple of Bentham, and aspired, 
despite strong personal likes and dislikes, to be an impartial 


rticanieur and reporter of his comitrj, in a British periodical 
of wide circalation and influence. 

No Southern State has been so fully described by early 
and later writers, as Virginia. As the home of Washing- 
ton and Jefierson, it attracted visitors when the journey 
thither* from the East was far from easy or convenient. 
The partially aristocratic origin of the first settlers gavo 
a distinctive and superior social tone to the region. Hunt- 
ing, political speculation, convivial courtesies, and the Epis- 
copal Church, were local features whereby the life of the 
Virginia planter assimilated with that of English manorial 
habits and prestige. Moreover, a certain hue of romance 
invests the early history of the State, associated as it is with 
the gallantry and culture of Sir Walter Raleigh and the self* 
devotion of Pocahontas^ The very name of " Old Domin- 
ion '' endeared Virginia to many more than her own children ; 
and that other title of " Mother of Presidents " indicates her 
prominence in our republican annals. JNTovelists have de- 
lighted to lay their scenes within her borders — ^to describe 
the shores of the Rappahannock, the ancient precincts of 
Jamestown, the beautiful valley of the Shenandoah, and the 
picturesque attractions of the Blue Ridge; as well as to 
elaborate the traits of character and the phases of social life 
fondly and proudly ascribed to the country. Lovers of 
humor find an unique comic side to the nature of the Vir- 
ginia negro — one of whose popular melodies plaintively 
evinces the peculiar attachment which bound the domestic 
slave to the soil and family ; while the countless anecdotes 
of John Randolph, and other eccentric country gentlemen, 
indicate that the independent and provincial life of the 
planter there was remarkably productive of original and 
quainfcharacteristics. Naturalists expatiated on the wonders 
of the Natural Bridge ; valetudinarians flocked to the Sulphur 
Springs ; and lovers of humanity made pilgrimages to Mount 
Vernon. 'There Washington, a young surveyor, became 
familiar witli toil, exposure, and responsibility, and passed 
the crowning years of his spotless career ; there he was bom. 


died, and is baried ; there Patrick Heniy roamed and mused, 
until the hour struck for him to rouse, with inyincible elo- 
quence, the instinct of free citizen^ip ; there Marshall drilled 
his yeomen for battle, and disciplined his judicial mind by 
study ; there Jefferson wrote his *' Political Philosophy ** and 
"Notes of a Naturalist;" there Burr was tried, Clay was 
bom, Wirt pleaded, Nat Turner instigated the Southampton 
massacre, Lord Fairfax hunted, and John Brown was hung, 
Randolph bitterly jested, and Pocahontas won a holy fame ; 
and there treason reared its hydra head, and profaned the 
consecrated soil with vulgar insults and savage cruelty ; there 
was the last battle scene of the Revolution, and the first of 
the Ci\dl War; there is Mount Vernon, Monticello, and 
Yorktown; and there, also, are Manassas, Bull Run, and 
Fredericksburg ; there is the old graveyard of Jamestown, 
and the modem Golgotha of Fair Oaks ; there is the noblest 
tribute art has reared to Washington, and the most loath- 
some prisons wherein despotism wreaked vengeance on 
patriotism ; and on that soil countless martyrs have offered 
up their U^es to conserve the national existence. 

What Wirt, Kennedy, Irving, the author of " Cousin 
Veronica," and others, have written of raral and social life 
in Virginia, from the genial sports of " Swallow Bam " to 
the hunting frolics at Greenway Court — what Virginia was 
in the days of Henry and Marshall, she essentially appeared 
to Chastellux and to Paulding. It is nearly fifty years since 
tlie latter's " Letters from the South " * were written ; and, 
glancing over them to-day, what confirmation do recent 
events yield to many of his obser^'ations ! This is one of 
the unconscious advantages derived from faithful personal 
insight and records. However familiar the scene and obso-. 
lete the book, as such, therein may be found the material for 
political inference or authentic speculation. " It seems the 
destiny of this country," writes Paulding from Virginia, in 
1816, "that power should travel to the West;" and agiun, 
"the blacks diminish in number as you travel toward the 
• " Letten from the South,'* by a Northern Man. 


mountains ;'* and elsewhere, ** I know not whether you have 
oBserved it, but all the considerable States south of New 
York have their little distrusts and separate local interests, or 
rather local feelings, operating most vehemently. The east 
and west section of the State are continually at sixes and 
sevens. The mountains called the Blue Ridge not only form 
the natural, but the political division of Virginia." Recent 
events have confirmed emphatically the truth of this observa- 
tion; and what Paulding says of the people, agrees with 
previous and subsequent testimony — "gallant, high-spirited, 
lofty, lazy sort of beings, much more likely to spend money 
than to earn it." We have noted the evidence of earlier 
travellers as to the decadence of slavery in Virginia, before 
the invention of the cotton-gin made the institution profit- 
able ; and our own countrjrman, writing nearly fifty years 
ago, quotes the remark of a farmer's daughter : " I want 
father to buy a black woman ; but he says they are more 
trouble than they are worth." Even at that period, the 
primitive methods of travel continued through the Southern 
country much as they are described by the French officers 
who made visits to the South immediately after or during 
the Revolutionary war. " Travellers' Rests," says Paulding, 
" are common in this part of the world, where they receive 
pay for a sort of family fare provided for strangers. The 
house, in frequent instances, is built of square pine logs lap- 
ping at the four comers, and the interstices filled up witii 
little blocks of wood plastered over and cemented." The 
ridges of mountain ribbed with pine trees, the veins of cop- 
per and iron revealed by the oxydated soil, the nutritious 
"hoecake," the marvellous caves and Natural Bridge, the 
comical negroes, the salubrious mineral springs, the occa- 
sional hunts such as cheered the hospitable manor of Fairfax, 
the conclaves of village politicians, the horse racing, cock 
fighting, the hard drinking, the famous " reel " of the dan- 
cers and turkey shooting of the riflemen, were then as charac- 
teristic of the Old Dominion as when the judicial mind of 
her Marshall, the eloquence of her Henry, the eccentricities 

400 AXERIOA AND HER 00Xlf£I!rrAT0R8. 

of her Randolph, or the matchless patriotism of her Wasb- 
iogton made her actual social life illustrious. The field of 
Yorktown, the memorable " Raleigh tavern," and the ubiqui- 
tous ^^ first family," had not ceased to be favorite landmarks 
and jokes, any more than tobacco the staple or slavery the 
problem of this fertile but half-developed region and mcon- 
gruous community. 

Paulding gave vent to his indignant patriotisfn, when the 
second war with England broke out, in ^^ The Diverting His- 
tory of John Bull and Brother Jonathan," * in the manner of 
Arbnthnot. In this work^ the two countries are made to' 
figure as individuals, and the difficulties between the two 
nations are exhibited as a family quarrel. England's course 
is the subject of a severe but not acrimonious satire. It was 
republished abroad and illustrated at home, and the idea still 
further developed in a subsequent story entitled " Uncle Sam 
and his Boys." 

A visit to Ohio from New England was formidable as 
late as 1796, when Morris Cleveland, whose name is now 
borne by the city where then spread a wilderness, accompa- 
nied the sur>'ey as agent of those citizens of Connecticut to 
whom she gave an enormous land grant in Ohio, to indenmify 
them for the loss of their property destroyed by the British 
during the Revolution. The party ascended the Mohawk in 
bateaux, which they carried over the "portage" of Little 
Falls to Fort Stanwix, now Rome, where there was another 
portage to Wood Creek, which empties into Oneida Lake ; 
thence they passed through its outlet and the Oswego River 
into Lake Ontario, following the south shore thereof to the 
mouth of the Niagara River ; crossing seven miles of jK>rt- 
age to Buffalo, and thence to the region of which Cleveland 
now forms the prosperous centre. The descendants of these 
landowners — some of whom yet may be found in the towns 
that suffered from the enemy's incursions eighty years ago, 
such as New Loudon, Groton, and Fairfield — if they possess 

* "John Bull in America; or, New Munchausen," second edition, ISma, 
pp. 228. The original and genuine edition, New Yoric, 1825. 


any record of the hardships thus endured and the time con- 
aomed, might find a wonderful evidence of progress and 
growth, in the facility with which they can now reach the 
same spot by a few hours of railway travel along the pic- 
turesque track of the Erie road. 

We must revert to such memorials to appreciate what 
" going West " implied forty or fifty years ago, and to under- 
stand the interest which the narratives of travellers there 
then excited. Before this experience became familiar, there 
were two writers who enjoyed much popularity in the North 
and East, and were extensively read abroad, as pioneer de- 
lineators of life and nature in the Western States, when that 
region fairly began its marvellous growth : these were Timo- 
thy Flint and James Hall. 

There are writers whose works lack the high finish and 
the exhaustive scope which insures them permanent cur- 
rency ; and yet who were actuated by so genial a spirit and 
endowed with so many excellent qualities, that the impres- 
sion they leave is sweet and enduring, like the brief but 
pleasing companionship of a kindly and intelligent acquaint- 
ance met in travelling,, and parted with as soon as Imown. 
Those who, in youth, read of the West as pictured by Timo- 
thy Flint, though for years they may not have referred to his 
books, will readily accord him such a gracious remembrance. 
He wrote before American literature had enrolled the classic 
names it now boasts, and when it was so little cultivated as 
scarcely to be recognized as a profession. And yet a candid 
and sympathetic reader cannot but feel that, however defeo- 
tive the products of Flint's pien may be justly deemed when 
critically estimated, they not only fulfilled a most useful and 
humane purpose at the time they were given to the public, 
but abound in the best evidences of a capacity for author- 
ship; which, under circumstances more favorable to disci- 
pline, deliberate construction, and gradual development, 
would have secured him a high and permanent niche in the 
temple of fame. Flint had all the requisite elements for lit- 
erary success — uncommon powers of observation, a generous 


tone of mind, habits of indostiy, a command of langoagey 
ima^ation, scientific tastes, and a vein of originalitjr co/m* 
bined with a kindliness of heart that would honor and ele- 
Tate any vocation. On the other hand, it was not imtil the 
mature age of forty-five that he fairly embarked in author- 
ship. That business was far from profitable, and, to make it * 
remnneratiTe, he was obliged to write fast, and publish with- 
out reyision. His health was always precarious. He had 
few of those associations whereby an author is encouraged in 
the refinements and individuality of his work by the exam- 
ple and critical sympathy of his peers. It is not, therefore, 
surprising that his success varied in the different spheres of 
literary experiment ; that the marks of haste, sometimes a 
desultory and at others a crude style, mar the nicety and 
grace of hb productions ; and that many of these are more 
remarkable for the material than the art they exhibit. Yet 
such was the manly force, such the kindly spirit and fresh 
tone of this estimable man and attractive writer, that he not 
only gave to the public a large amount of new and uaeiiil 
information, and charmed lovers of nature with a picturesque 
and faithful picture of her aspects in the West, then rarely 
traversed by the people of the older States, but it is conceded 
that his writings were singularly effective in producing a bet- 
ter mutual understanding between the two extremes of the 
country. For several years Timothy Flint was almost the 
only representative of the American authorship west of the 
Alleghanies. Travellers speak of an interview with him as 
an exceptional and charming social incident When that IcMig 
range of mountains was tediously crossed in stages ; when a 
visit to the West was more formidable than a passage across 
the Atlantic now; and when material well-being was the 
inevitable and absorbing occupation of the newly settled 
towns along the great rivers, it may easily be imagined bow 
benign an influence an urbane and liberal writer and scholar 
would exert at home, and how welcome his report of per- 
sonal experience would prove to older communities. Accord- 
ingly, Timothy Flint was extensively read and widely be- 


loved. A native of Massadmsetts, and by profession a 
dergyman, he entered on a missionary life in tlie Valley of 
the Mississippi in 1815 ; sojourning in Ohio, Indiana, Ken- 
tucky, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, now as a teadier 
and now as a preacher ; at home in the wilderness, a favorite 
in society, winning children and hunters by his wisdom and 
eloquence, and endearing himself to the educated residents 
of St. Louis, New Orleans, or Giocinnati, by his liberal and 
cultivated influence. It is, perhaps, impossible to imagine 
how different these cities and settlements were before facility 
of communication had enlarged and multiplied their social 
resources; but we have many striking evidences of the 
diaracteristics of each in Flint's writings. He wrote several 
novels, which are now little considered, and, compared with 
the present standard in that popular department of letters, 
would be found indifferent; yet, wherever the author has 
drawn from observation, he leaves a vital trace. In ^^ Frau- 
ds Berrian," which is a kind of memoir of a New Englander 
who became a Mexican patriot, and in '^ Sheshonoe Valley,'' 
there are fine local pictures and touches of diaracter obvi- 
ously caught from his ten years' experience of missionary 
life. Flint wrote also lectures, tales, and sketches. He 
edited magazines both in the North and West, and contrib- 
uted to a London joumaL But the writings which are chiefly 
stamped with the flavor of his life and the results of his 
observations — ^those which, at the time, were regarded as 
original and authentic, and now may be said to contain among 
the best, because the most true, delineations of the West — 
are his ^^ Condensed Geography and History of the Missis- 
sippi Valley,"* and his "Recollections of Ten Years" 
(1826) residence therein. These works were cordially wel- 
comed at home and abroad. They proved valuable and inter- 
esting to savarUj naturalist, emigrant, and general readers ; 
and, while more complete works on the subject have since 

• '' History and Geography of the Misaiaappi Valley, with the Fhyaical 
Geography of the whole Amerioan Continent,'* hy Timothy Flint, 2 toIs. in 1, 
Sto., Cincinnati, 1882. 


appeared, the period which gave birth to them, and the 
character and capacity of their author, still endear and ren- 
der them useful. The London Quarterly was sin^olarij 
frank and free in its commendation of Flint, whom it pro- 
nounced " sincere, humane, and liberal '' on the intemid evi- 
dence of these writings; declaring, also, that the author 
indulged '^ hardly a prejudice that is not amiable.'* 

In 1840, on his way to his native town — Reading, in Mas- 
sachusetts — ^Flint and his son were at Natchez, when the 
memorable tornado occurred which nearly destroyed the 
place, and were several hours buried under the ruins. The 
father's health continued to decline, and, although he reached 
his early home and 8ur\'ivcd a few weeks, the summons that 
called his wife reached her too late. 

The peculiar value of Timothy Flint's account of the 
remarkable region of whose history and aspect he wrote, 
consists in the fact that it is not the result of a cursory sor- 
vey or rapid tour, but of years of residence, intimate contact 
with nature and man, and patient observation. The record 
thus prepared is one which will often be consulted by subse- 
quent writers. The circumstances, political and social, have 
greatly changed since our author's advent, nearly half a cen- 
tury ago ; but the features of nature are identical, and it is 
pleasant to compare them with his delineation before modi- 
fied by the adorning and enriching tide of civilization. 
There is one portion of these writings that has a perma- 
nent charm, and that is the purely descriptive. Flint knew 
how to depict landscapes in words ; and no one has more 
graphically revealed to distant readers the shores of the 
Ohio, or made so real in our hinguage the physical aspects 
of the Great Valley. 

Of native travellers, the unpretending and brief record 
called " The Letters of Hibemicus " * possesses a singular 
charm, from being associated ^-ith the recreative work of an 
eminent statesman, and with one of the most auspicious eoo> 

* ^^ Letters on the Natural History and Internal Resources of the 8taU 
of New York," by Hibemicus, New York, 1822, ISmo. 


nomioal achievements wJhicb ever founded and fostered the 
prosperity of a State and city. When De Witt Clinton ex- 
plored the route of the Erie Canal, he communicated his 
wayside obserrations in a series of familiar epistles, wherein 
the zest of a naturalist, the ardor of a patriot, and the humor 
of a genial observer are instinctively blended. 

"This account of his exploration of Western New 
York,* which originally appeared in one of the journals of 
the day, offers a wonderful contrast to our familiar experi- 
ence. Then, to use his own language, ^ the stage driver was 
a leading beau, and the keeper of a tuiiipike gate a man of 
consequence.' Our three hours' trip from New York to 
Albany was a voyage occupying ten times that period. At 
Albany stores were laid in, and each member of the commis- 
sion provided himself with a blanket, as caravans, in our 
time, are equipped at St. Louis for an expedition to the 
Rocky Mountains. Here they breakfast at a toUkeeper's, 
there they dine on cold ham at an isolated farmhouse ; now 
they mount a baggage wagon, and now take to a boat too 
small to admit of sleeping accommodations, which leads them 
constantly to regret their ^unfortunate neglect to provide 
marquees and camp stools;' and more than six. weeks are 
occupied in a journey which now does not consume as many 
days. Yet the charm of ])atient observation, the enjoyment 
of nature, and the gleanings of knowledge, caused what, in 
our locomotive era, would seem a tedious pUgrimage, to be 
fraught with a pleasure and advantage of which our flying 
tourists over modem railways never dream. We perceive, 
by the comparison, that what has been gained in speed is 
often lost in rational entertainment. The traveller who 
leaves New York in the morning, to sleep at night under the 
roar of Niagara, has gathered nothing in the magical transit 
but dust, fatigue, and the risk of destruction ; while, in that 
deliberate progress of the canal enthusiast, not a phase of 
the landscape, not an historical association, not a fruit, min- 
eral, or flower was lost to his view. He recognizes the be- 
• From the anthor^s ** Biographical and Critical Eoajs." 


nign provision of nature for sugar, so far from the tropioi» 
by the sap of the maple ; and for salt, at such a distance 
from the ocean, by the lakes that hold it in solution near 
Syracuse. At Geddesburg he recalls the valor of the Iro- 
quois, and the pious zeal of the Jesuits ; at Seneca Lake he 
watches a bald eagle chasing an osprey, who lets his captive 
drop to be grasped in the talons of the king of birds ; the 
fields near Aurora cheer him with the harvests of the ^ finest 
wheat country in the world.' At one place he is regaled 
with salmon, at another with fruit, peculiar in flavor to each 
locality ; at one moment he pauses to shoot a bittern, and at 
another to examine an old fortification. The capers and pop- 
pies in a garden, the mandrakes and thistles in a brake, the 
bluejays and woodpeckers of the grove, the bullet marks in 
the rafters of Fort Niagara, tokens of the siege under Sir 
William Johnson, the boneset of the swamp, a certain remedy 
for the local fever, a Yankee exploring the country for lands, 
the croaking of the bullfrog and the gleam of the firefly, 
Indian men spearing for fish, and girls making wampum — 
these and innumerable other scenes and objects lure him into 
the romantic vistas of tradition, or the beautiful domain of 
natural science ; and everywhere he is inspired by the patri- 
otic survey to announce the as yet unrecorded promise of the 
soil, and to exult in the limitless destiny of its people. If 
there is a striking diversity between the population and facili- 
ties of travel in this region as kno\^ni to us and as described 
by him, there is in other points a not less remarkable identity. 
Rochester is now famed as the source of one of the most 
prolific superstitions of the age ; and forty years ago there 
resided at Crooked Lane, Jemima Wilkinson, whose follow- 
ers believed her the Saviour incarnate. Clinton describes her 
equipage — * a plain coach with leather curtains, the back in- 
scribed with her initials and a star.' The orchards, poultry, 
cornfields, gristmills noted by him, still characterize the 
region, and are indefinitely multiplied. The ornithologist, 
however, would miss whole species of birds, and the richly- 
veined woods must be sought in less civilized districts. The 


prosperous future which the varied products of this district 
foretold, has been more than realized ; with each successive 
improvement in the means of communication, villages have 
swelled to cities ; barges and freight cars with lumber and 
flour have crowded the streams and rails leading to the me- 
tropolis ; and, in the midst of its rural beauty, and gemmed 
with peerless lakes, the whole region has, according to his 
prescient conviction, annuaUy increased in commerce, popula- 
tion, and refinement. 

A more noble domain, indeed, wherein to exercise such 
administrative genius, can scarcely be imagined than the 
State of New York. In its diversities of surface, water, 
scenery, and climate, it may be regarded, more than any 
other member of the confederacy, as typical of the Union, 
The artist, the topographer, the man of science, and the agri- 
culturist, can find within its limits all that is most character- 
istic of the entire country. In historical incident, variety of 
immigrant races, and rapid development, it is equally a rep- 
resentative State. There spreads the luxuriant Mohawk Val- 
ley, whose verdant slopes, even when covered with frost, the 
experienced eye of Washington selected for purchase as the 
best of agricultural tracts. There were the famed hunting 
grounds of the Six Nations, the colonial outposts of the fur 
trade, the vicinity of Frontenac's sway, and the Canada wars, 
the scenes of Andre's capture, and Burgoyne's surrender. 
There the very names of forts embahn the fame of heroes. 
There li\red the largest manorial proprietors, and not a few 
of the most eminent Revolutionary statesmen. There Ful- 
ton's great invention was realized; there flows the most 
beautiful of our rivers, towers the grandest mountain range, 
and expand the most picturesque lakes ; there thunders the 
sublimest cataract on earth, and gush the most salubrious 
spas ; while on the seaboard is the emporium of the Western 

A poet has apostrophized North America, with no less 
truth than beauty, as ' the land of many waters ; ' and a 
glance at the map of New York will indicate their felicitous 


diBtribution witbin ber limits. Tbis element is the natural 
and primitive means of intercommunication. For centuries 
it bad borne tbe aborigmes in tbeir frail canoes, and after- 
ward tbe trader, tbe soldier, tbe missionary, and tbe emi- 
grant, in tbeir bateaux; and, wben arrived at a terminns, 
they carried these light transports over leagues of portage, • 
again to launch them on lake and river. Fourteen years of 
Clinton's life were assiduously devoted to bis favorite project 
of uniting these bodies of water. He was tbe advocate, the 
memorialist, the topographer, and financier of tbe vast enter- 
prise, and accomplished it, by bis wisdom and intrepicQty, 
without tbe slightest pecuniary advantage, and in the face of 
innumerable obstacles. Its consummation was one of the 
greatest festivals sacred to a triumph of tbe arts of peace 
ever celebrated on this continent. The impulse it gave to 
commercial and agricultural prosperity continues to this hour. 
It was the foundation of all that makes the city and State of 
New York preeminent ; and when, a few years since, a thou- 
sand American citizens sailed up the Mississippi to commem- 
orate its alliance with the Atlantic, the ease and rapidity of the 
transit, and the spectacle of ^drgiu civilization thus created, 
were but a new act in the grand drama of national develop- 
ment, whose opening scene occurred twentj^-seven years be- 
fore, when the waters of Lake Erie blended with those of 
the Hudson. 

Tbe immense bodies of inland water, and the remarkable 
fact that the Hudson River, unlike other Atlantic streams 
south of it, flows unimpeded, early impressed Clinton with 
the natural means of intercourse destined to connect the sea- 
board of New York with tbe vast agricidtural districts of 
the interior. He saw ber peerless river enter tbe Highlands 
only to meet, a hundred and sixty miles beyond, another 
stream, which flowed within a comparatively short distance 
from the great chain of lakes. Tbe very existence of these 
inLind seas, and tbe obvious possibility of uniting them with 
tbe ocean, suggested to bis comprehensive mind a new idea 
of tbe destiny of the whole country. Within a few years an 


ingenious geographer has pomted out, with singalar aomnen, 
the relation of liis science to history, and has demonstrated, 
by a theory not less philosophical than poetic, that the dispo- 
sition of land and water in varions parts of the globe prede- 
termines the hmnan development of each region. The copi- 
ous civilization of Europe is thus traceable to the numerous 
facilities of approach that distinguish it from Africa, which 
still remains but partially explored. The lakes in America 
prophesied to the far-reaching vision of Clinton her future 
progress. He perceived, more clearly than any of his con- 
temporaries, that her development depended upon facilities 
of intercourse and conmmnication. He beheld, with intui- 
tive wisdom, the extraordinary provision for this end, in the 
succession of lake and river, extending, like a broad silver 
tissue, from the ocean far through the land, thus bringing the 
products of foreign climes within reach of the lone emigrant 
in the heart of the continent, and the staples of those mid- 
land valleys to freight the ships of her seaports. He felt that 
the State of all others to practically demonstrate this great 
fact, was that with whose interests he was intrusted. It was 
not as a theorist, but as a utilitarian, in the best sense, that 
he advocated the union by canal of the waters of Lake Erie 
with those of the Hudson. The patriotic scheme was fraught 
with issues of which even he never dreamed. It was apply- 
ing, on a limited scale, in the sight of a people whose enter- 
prise is boundless in every direction clearly proved to be 
available, a principle which may be truly declared the vital 
element of our civic growth. It was giving tangible evidence 
of the creative power incident to locomotion. It was yield- 
ing the absolute evidence then required to convince the less 
far-sighted multitude that access was the grand secret of in- 
creased value ; that exchange of products was the touchstone 
of wealth ; and that the iron, wood, grain, fruit, and other 
abundant resources of the interior could acquire their real 
value only through facilities of transportation. Simple as 
these truths appear now, they were widely ignored then ; and 
not a few opponents of Clinton predicted that, even if he did 


Bucoeed in having four conveyed from what was then called 
the ' Far West' to the metropolis, at a small expense of time 
and money, the grass would grow in the streets of New 
Tork. Tlie political economists of his day were thus con- 
verted into enemies of a system which, from that honr, has 
continued to guide to prosperous issues every latent sonroe 
of wealth throughout the country. The battle with igno- 
rance and prejudice, which Clinton and his friends waged, 
resulted in more than a local triumph and individual renown. 
It established a great precedent, offered a prolific example, 
and gave permanent impulse and direction to the public spirit 
of the community. The canal is now, in a great measure, 
superseded by the railway; the traveller sometimes finds 
them side by side, and, as he glances from the sluggish 
stream and creeping barge to the whirling cars, and thence 
to the telegraph wire, he witnesses only the more perfect de- 
velopment of that great scheme by which Clinton, according 
to the limited means and against the inveterate prejudices of 
his day, sought to bring the distant near, and to render 
homogeneous and mutually helpful the activity of a single 
State, and, by that successful experiment, indicated the pro- 
cess whereby the whole confederacy should be rendered one 
in interest, in enterprise, and in sentiment. 

Before the canal policy was realized, we are told by its 
great advocate that * the expense of conveying a barrel of 
flour by land to Albany, from the country above Cayuga 
Lake, was more than twice as much as the cost of transporta- 
tion from New York to Liverpool ; ' and the correctness of 
his financial anticipations was verified by the first year's ex- 
periment, even before the completion of the enterprise, when, 
in his message to the legislature, he announced that ^the 
income of the canal fund, when added to the tolls, exceeded 
the interest on the cost of the canal by nearly four hundred 
thousand dollars.' Few, however, of the restless excursion- 
ists that now crowd our cars and steamboats, would respond 
to his praise of this means of transportation when used for 
travel. His notion of a journey, we have seen, differed • 


tially from that now in vogae, which seems to aim chiefly at 
the annihilation of space. To a philosophic mind, notwith- 
standing, his views will not appear irrational, when he de- 
clares that fifty miles a day, *• without a jolt,' is his ideal of 
a tour — ^the time to be divided between observing, and, when 
there is no interest in the scenery, reading and conversation. 
*I believe,' he adds, *that cheaper or more commodions 
ti*avelling cannot be found.' " 

James Hall wrote a series of graphic letters in the Port- 
y^o/io— one of the earliest literary magazines, published in 
Philadelphia — which were subsequently collected in a volume, 
and were among the flrst descriptive sketches of merit that 
made the West familiar and attractive to the mass of read- 
ers. Bom in Philadelphia in 1793, the author entered the 
army, and was engaged in the battle of Lundy's Lane, at the 
siege of Fort Erie, and on other occasions during the war of 
1812. Six years later he resigned his commission, and, in 
1820, removed to Illinois, where he studied and practised 
law, became a member of the legislature and judge of the 
circuit court. In 1833 he again changed his residence to 
Cincinnati, where he was long occupied as cashier of a bank, 
and in the pursuits of literature. From his intimate ac- 
quaintance with the Western country, his experience as a 
soldier and a legislator, habits of intelligent observation, and 
an animated and agreeable style, he was enabled to write 
attractively of a region comparatively new to the literary 
public, and for many years his books were a popular source 
of information and entertainment for those eager to know the 
characteristics and enjoy the adventurous or historical ro- 
mances of the Western States first settled. He successively 
published letters from and legends of the West, tales of the 
border, and statistics of and notes on that new and growing 

• " Legends of the West,'' 12mo., Philadelphia, 1838. 
** Sketches of History, Life, and Manners in the West,** 2 toIs. 12mo., 
Philadelphia, 1886. 

** Notes on the Western States,** 12mo., Philadelphia, 1888. 
** The Wilderness and the War Path,** 12mo., New York, 1846. 
** The West, its Soil, Snrfaoe, and IVodnctioDS,'' Ondnnati, 1848. 

md 'jtym»sm l nor? 
-••?n^ -lii^ im«tii£tioiB 'f Tipn )f 

te**^, ' If Viiiam Tador. 
flaiity md Knttoeas -w?e 
jiciion^ -h^ UjKaffiian if wme 
eUh#>rtti»;. iief vb jh -szaeOcnr ^lemariai at :he rfinpn aod 
i1i« rp^eioA *he7 ieMribe. Tiitor -ras an ^sftieit dasMiof 
flm ir«c ^^nrt^j jxenrr pczioincai •±scahii^ied in ^T^sv Eaf^ 
IivuL orui if -iie r^nrmden ot :he izsc public Tanrj^ sui the 
*m^AiSkXi\r if 'he Eimker EEH Mbnmneit. WiUbbil Wxrty. in 
Virginia, at m earij 'iate ^^Taihired die ame love of ^■■g^wfc 
Uitf^r^ Init'iAUid % wr^rk •amilar in scope ami mm. to .Ati^r 
)Mn'4 ,^/rf/if^/r, and ^ina oot only in eLofoeat speaker and 
&;7orir#» ^^mpunioiu but a scholar or claaic taste and Ixfiisarx 
aK]^ral:ioni«. Tn th« winter of I^}-1 he pdhG^ied. in tfe 
Ar^^ — * difcily jonmai of Richmond, Ya^ — ^^Letttani of a 
KritirtK Hp//'' which were coQectefi and iasiBed in a book 
fryrm.* Ukii Trvini^ in the caae of ~ Knidkerbocker^'^ be re- 
$0ffU'A to thf. nutf: of a pretendeii diacoTerr of papers left in 
an iim fh9en%\¥^. The sncceaa of theae •^Letters" sorprised 

• •* Th-% Bfifwh Spy ; w, Leoerv to a Xember of the BritUi Ytx^SauneaS^ 
wvfttAn dnrift^ a t/#vir thr/*i^ tlut United Staces, bj a Tovng EngOsixmBii of 
Bmlr, Mm'*., W*. 1^'^, N'^wt/nTypwt, 1^04. — "The abore ia the original c^ 
tWm // t^tA n//w <'^J^hrat/'rJ leti«n of the Britiah Spj, written bj the AmericHi 
Hcto^ William Wirt. F'/r the amooat of what be baa written, no Ameiican 
anifc/^ haa w<^ ao ffermanent and wideapread a repatation. Hia atorj of tlie 
bBfid f^^arh'T ia m\9i of the mofit tieaatifal and affecting in the language, 
thia tKKfk haa ^rme thrr^Ji^h fifteen editiona, and ia destined to go throng as 


the author, as it would the reader of the present day unao- 
quainted with the circumstances. Superior in style to any 
belles-lettres work of the kind, of native origin, that had yet 
appeared, and analyzing the merits of several popular orators 
of the time, the book had a charm and interest for its first 
readers greatly owing to the rarity of an intellectual feast of 
domestic production. Besides his remarks on the eloquence^ 
of the forum and bar, Wirt discussed certain physical traits 
and phenomena with zest and some scientific insight, and 
gave incidental but graphic sketches of local society and 
manners. His reflections on the character of Pocahontas, 
and his portrait of the ^^ Blind Preacher,^' are familiar as 
favorite specimens of descriptive writing. Although now 
little read, the "Letters of a British Spy" are a pleasing land- 
mark in the brief record of American literature, and give us 
a not inadequate idea of the life *and region delineated. In 
1812, an edition was published in London, with an apologetic 
preface indicative of the feeling then prevalent across the 
water in regard to all mental products imported from the 
United States, aggravated, perhaps, by the nam de plume 
Wirt had adopted. The publisher declares his "conviction 
of its merit " induces him to offer the work to the public, 
though "it is feared the present demand on the English 
reader may be considered more as a call on British courtesy 
and benevolence than one of right and equity." 

When our national novelist returned to America, afler a 
residence of many years in Europe, he undertook to give his 
countrymen the benefit of his experience and refections in 
the shape of direct censure and counsel. " The Monnikins " 
— a political satire — " The American Democrat," " Homeward 
Bound," " Home as Found," " A Letter to his Countrymen," 
and other productions in the shape of essays, fiction, and 
satire, gave expression to convictions and arguments bom of 
sincere and patriotic motives and earnest thought. In his 
general views. Cooper had right and reason on his side. 
What he wrote of political abuses and social anomalies, every 
candid and cultivated American has known and felt to be 


trae, especially after a visit to Earope. Bat the manner of 
ooDTeTing his sentiments was injadicioos. I>e6cripti<Mi, nol 
satire, was h\B forte; action^ and not didactics, had giyen 
6ekU to his pen ; hence his admirers helieved he had mistaken 
his vocation in becoming a social and political critic ; whik 
many were revolted by what they conceived to be a sweep- 
ing and unauthorized condemnation. Moreover, in oflfending 
the editorial fraternity, by a caricature of their worst quali- 
ties, he drew around himself a swarm of virulent protests, 
and thus was misjudged : the consequence was a series of 
libel suits and a wearisome controversy. Now that the ex- 
aggerated mood and the gross misapprehensions therein in- 
volved, have passed away, we can appreciate the abstract jus- 
tice of Cooper's position, the manly spirit and the inteUigeot 
patriotism of his unfortunate experiments as a reformer, and 
revert to this class of his writings with profit, especially sinoe 
the crisis he anticipated has been reached, and the logic of 
efirents is enforcing with solemn emphasis the lessons he un- 
graciously perhaps, but honestly and bravely, strove to im> 
press upon his wayward countrymen. If ever an American 
had a right to assume the office of censor, it was Cooper. 
He had, soon after his arrival in Europe, taken up his pen 
in behalf of his country, and thenceforth advocated her 
rights, defended her fame, and brought to reckoning her 
ignorant maligners. His ^^ Notions of the Americans " did 
much to correct false impressions abroad ; and its author was 
involved in a long controversy, and became an American 
champion and oracle, whose services have never yet been 
ftdly appreciated, enhanced as they were by his European 
popularity as an original American novelist. Well wrote 

" Cooper, whose name is with his country's woven, 
First in her files, her pioneer of mind, 
A wanderer now in other climes, has proven 
His love for the young land he left behind/' 

It requires a love of nature, an adventurous spirit, and an 
intelligent patriotism, such as, in these days of complex j 


oiatioDS and fragmentary interests, are rarely found in the 
same indiyidual, to observe and to write with effect upon the 
scenes and the character of this republic — especially those 
parts thereof that are removed from the great centres of 
trade and society. Political economists there are who will 
patiently nomendate the physical resources ; sportsmen who 
can discourse with relish of the bivouac and the hunt, and 
their environment and incidents; poetical minds alert and 
earnest in celebrating particular local charms : but the Amer- 
ican of education who delights in exploring the country and 
invoking its brief past in a historical point of view, while 
dwelling con amore upon its natural features, so as to pro- 
duce an animated narrative — ^who delights in the life and 
takes pride in the aspect, even when least cultivated, of his 
native land, is the exception, not the rule, among our authors. 
The reasons are obvious : for the scholar there is too little of 
tiiat mysterious background to the picture which enriches it 
with vast human interest; to the imaginative there is too 
much monotony in the landscape and the experience ; to the 
sympathetic, too little variety and grace of character in the 
people; and the man who can be eloquent in describing 
Italy, and vivacious in his traveller's journal in France, and 
speculative in discussing English manners, will prove com- 
paratively tame and vague when a traveller at home — always 
excepting certain shrines of pilgrimage long consecrated to 
enthusiasm. He may have profound emotions at Niagara, 
confess the inspiration of a favorite scacoast, and expatiate 
upon the White Mountains with rapture ; but find a tour in 
any one section of the land more or less tedious and barren 
of interest, or, at best, yielding but vague materials for pen 
or talk. Exceptions to this average class, many and mem- 
orable, our survey of Travels in America amply indicates; 
but the fact remains, that the feeling that invests Scott's 
novels, Wilson's sketches, the French memoirs, the German 
poets, the intense partiality, insight, and sentiment bom of 
local attachment and national pride, has seldom impregnated 
our literature, especially that of travel ; for the novelB of 


Cooper, the poems of Bryant, and other standard produc- 
tions in more elaborate and permanent spheres, do not inyali- 
date the general truth. Among the native writers who, from 
the qualities already mentioned, have known how to make the 
narrative of an American tour pleasant and profitable, is 
Charles Fenno Hofiman, whose " Winter in the West " is 
quite a model of its kind. It consists of a series of letters 
addressed to a New Tork journal, describing a journey on 
horseback in 1835.* There was the right admixture of poet- 
ical and patriotic instinct, of knowledge of books and of the 
world, and of the love both of nature and adventure, to make 
him an agreeable and instructive delineator of an experience 
which, to many equally intelligent travellers, would have 
been devoid of consecutive interest. In his novels, tales, and 
verses, there is a positive American flavor, which shows how 
readily he saw the characteristic and felt the beautiftil in his 
own country. To him the Hudson was an object of love, 
and the history of his native State a strong personal interest. 
Unspoiled by European travel, and fond of sport, of the 
freshness and freedom of the woods, and the independence 
incident to our institutions, he, although infirm, bore discom- 
forts with cheerfulness, easily won companionship, and de- 
lighted in exercbe and observation. Accordingly, he notes 
the weather, describes the face of the country, recalls the 
Indian legends, speculates on the characters and modes of 
life, and discusses the historical antecedents, as he slowly 
roams over Eastern Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, Vir- 
ginia, and Illinois, with a lively tone and yet not without 
grave sympathy. Scenery is described with a robust and 
graphic rather than with a dainty and rhetorical pen, obvi- 
ously guided by an excellent eye for local distinctions and 
charms; men and manners are treated with an acute, gen- 
eralized, and manly criticism; the animals, the river craft, 
the flowers, the game, the origin and growth of towns, the 
aspect and resources of the country, are each and all conge* 
nial themes. He so enjoys the observation thereof, as to put 
• ** A Winter in the West," by a New Yoriier, 2 ▼ok., New York, ISSft. 


bis reader in relation with himself, as he did the diverse 
characters he encountered in tavern, log honso, military out- 
post, and drawing room. He is neither revolted by coarse- 
ness nor discouraged by inconveniences. He takes us socia- 
bly along a route now familiar to thousands who trav- 
erse it oh railways with scarce a thought of the latent inter- 
est more tranquil observation and patient inquiry would 
elicit. At Detroit we are entertained by an historical epi- 
sode, and at Prairie du Chien with a veritable picture of 
military life, character, and routine in America. A conver- 
sation here, an anecdote there, a page of speculation now, 
and again one of description, something like an adventure 
to-day, and of curious observation to-morrow, beguile us 
with so cheerful and intelligent a guide, that, at the end of 
the journey, we are surprised it yielded so many topics of 
reflection and scenes of picturesque or human interest. 

The statistics whereby the practical inquirer, and the 
agencies and examples whereby the social philosopher, may 
decide whether Cotton is king, may be foxmd in the books 
of Southern Travel in America written by Frederick I^aw 
Olmsted. The actual economical results of slave labor upon 
the value of property, the comfort and the dignity of life 
and manners, mind, domestic economy, education, religion, 
social welfare, tone and tendency, may there be found, co- 
pious, specific, and authentic. What nature is in the Cot- 
ton States, and life also, are therein emphasized discreetly. 
How the solemn pine woods balmily shade the traveller; 
how gracefully dangle the tylandria festoons in hoary grace ; 
how cheerily gleam the holly berries, and glow the negroes' 
fires ; how sturdily are gnarled the cypress knees ; how mag- 
nificent are the Uveoaks, and luxuriant the magnolias, and 
desolate the swamps, and comfortiess the dwellings, and reck 
less the travel, and shiftless the ways, and rare the vaunted 
hospitality, and obsolete the " fine old country gentieman ; " 
and how proud and poor, precarious and unprogessive is the 
civilization inwoven with slave and adjacent to free labor, 
is narrated without dogmatism and in matter-of-fact terms, 


whence the economist, the humanitarian, the philosopher, the 
Christian, the reasonable man may infer and elaborate the 
truth, and the daty that truth involves and demands.* 

More desultory in scope, but not less interesting as the 
genume report of calm observation, are Bryant's " Letters 
of a Traveller," which are fresh, agreeable, and authentic 
local descriptions and comments, superior in literary execu- 
tion, and therefore valuable as permanent records in the 
literature of home travel.f 

An important department of American Travels, and for 
scientific and historical objects invaluable, is the record of 
Government expeditions for military or exploring purposes, 
from the famous enterprises of Lewis and Clark to those of 
Simcoe, Stansbury, Kendall, Emory, Long, Marcy, Pike, Fre- 
mont, Bartlett, and others. Every new State and Territoiy 
has found its intelligent explorer. The vast deserts and the 
Rocky Mountains, the Great Salt Lake, Oregon, the Ca- 
manche hunting grounds, Texas, the far Western aboriginal 
tribes, the climate, soil, topography, Ac, of the most remote 
and uncivilized regions of the continent, have been thus ex- 
amined and reported, and the narratives are often animated 
by graphic and picturesque scenes, or made impressive by 
adventure, hardship, and intrepidity. Another remarkable 
class of books is the long list of those devoted to California, 
written and published within the last ten years, whereby the 
life, aspect, condition, scenery, resources, and prospects of 
that region are as familiar to readers in the old States as if 
they had explored the new El Dorado. 

* ** The Ck)tton Kingdom, a Traveller's Obserratioiu on Gotton and Sbt- 
▼eiyin the American Slave States,^ based upon three former volumes of Jooi^ 
nejB and Investigations by the same author, by Frederic Law Olmsted, 2 rola. 
12mo., with a colored statistical map of the Cotton Kingdom and its Depend- 

f ** Letters of a Traveller in Europe and America,^ New York, 12mo. — 
A discriminating critic observes of this work : ** Mr. Bryant's style in these 
Letters is an admirable model of descriptive prose. Without any appearance 
of labor, it is finished with an exquisite grace. The genial love of nalnro 
and the lurking tendency to humor which it everywhere betrays, preTent its 
severe simplicity from running into hardness, and give it freshness and oooa- 
sional glow in spite of its prevailing proprie^ and reserve.** 


The incidental records of American travel, sach as may 
be found in the letters, diaries, and memoirs of our own civic 
leaders and military or political heroes, are not the least 
characteristic or suggestive As a specimen, let us refer to 
the notes of our peerless Chief in New England, when on his 
Presidential tour. 

Here is a glimpse of Connecticut as it appieared to the 
practical eye of Washington in 1789. In his Diary, he says, 
under date of October 16th of that year: "About seven 
o'clock we left the* widow Haviland's, and, after passing 
Horse Neck, six miles distant from Rye, the road through 
which is hilly and immensely stony, and trying to wheels 
and carriages, we breakfasted at Stamford, which is six miles 
farther, at one WebVs — a tolerable good house. In this 
town are an Episcopal church and a meeting house. At Nor- 
walk, which is ten miles farther, we made a halt to feed our 
horses. To the lower end of this town sea vessels come, and 
at the other end are mills, stores, and an Episcopal and Pres- 
byterian church. From hence to Fairfield, where we dined 
and lodged, is twelve miles, and part of it very rough road, 
but not equal to Horse Neck. The superb landscape, how- 
ever, which is to be seen irom the meeting house of the lat- 
ter, is a rich regalia. We found all the farmers busily em- 
ployed in gathering, grinding, and expressing the juice of 
their apples. The average crop of wheat, they say, is about 
fifteen bushels to the acre, often twenty, and from that to 
twenty-five. The destructive evidences of British cruelty are 
yet visible both at Norwalk and Fairfield, as there are the 
chimneys of many burnt houses standing yet. The principal 
export from Norwalk and Fairfield is horses and cattle, salted 
beef and pork, lumber and Indian com for the West Indies, 
and, in a small degree, wheat and flour." 

"Commenced my journey," he writes* on the 16th of 
October, 1789, " aljout nine o'clock, for Boston and the East- 
em States." He did not reach that city until noon of the 

♦ " Diary from the Ist of October, 1789, untU the 10th of March, 1790,*' 
printed by the Bradford dob from the origimd maDUBcripta, New York, 1868. 


28d ; and it is curious to read of the frequent halts for meals, 
to feed the horses, or to pass the night, on a route we are 
accustomed to pass over in as many hours as days were then 
employed. Washington makes agricultural and topographi- 
cal' notes, and in many respects we recognize the same traits 
of industry, and identify the face of the country ; while in 
others the contrast is remarkable. 

He notes a linen manufacture at New Haven, white mul- 
berry '^ to feed silkworms" at Wallingford, and remarks that 
the silk culture, " except the weaving, is the work of private 
families, without interference with other business, and is 
likely to turn out a beneficial amusement." 

At Hartford, Colonel Wadsworth showed him the wool- 
len factory, and specimens of broadcloth. ^'I ordered a 
suit," he writes, ^' and of the serges a whole piece, to make 
breeches for my servants." Continuing his journey, he ob- 
serves " the whole road from Hartford to Springfield is level 
and good, except being too sandy in places, and the fields 
enclosed with posts and rails, there not being much stone." 
He is met often by moimted escorts of gentlemen, is enter- 
tained by the local officials, and receives addresses from the 
towns. Of his impressions of the State, we may form an 
idea by the casual entries in his brief diary : " There is g^reat 
equality in the people of this State — few or no opulent men, 
and no poor ; great similitude in their buildings, the general 
fashion of which is a chimney always of stone or brick, and 
door in the middle, with a staircase fronting the latter, and 
running up the side of the former — two flush stones with a 
very good show of sash and glass windows ; the size gen- 
erally is from thirty to forty feet in length, and from twenty 
to thirty in width, exclusive of a back shed, which seems to 
be added as the family increases. The farms, by the contigxi- 
ity of the houses, are small, not averaging more than a hun- 
dred acres. They are worked chiefly by oxen, which have 
no other food than hay." 

At Portsmouth he " went in a boat to view the harbor. 
Having lines, we proceeded to the fishing banks and fished 


for cod, and only caught two. Dinqd at Mr. Langdon's, and 
drank tea there with a large party of ladies. There are some 
good houses here, but, in general, they are indifferent, and 
almost entirely of wood. On wondering at this, ias the coun- 
try is full of stone and good day for bricks, I was told, that, 
on account of the fogs and damps, they deemed them whole- 

At Exeter, he writes, '^ a jealousy subsists between this 
town, where the legislature alternately sits, and Portsmouth ; 
which, had I known it in time, would have made it necessary 
to have accepted an invitation to a public dinner.'' 

^' In Haverhill is a duck manufactory upon a smaU but 
ingenious scale." 

At Boston he went to an oratorio, and was entertained at 
Faneuii Hall, ^^ dined in a large company at Mr. Bowdoin's, 
and went to an assembly in the evening, where " there were 
upward of a hundred ladies. Their appearance was elegant, 
and many of them very handsome." 

Another attractive branch of this subject may be found 
in commemorative addresses — a peculiar and prolific occasion 
of local reminiscences and comparisons in America. Com- 
pare, for instance, the descriptions of New York by Mrs* 
Knight, Brissot, or Wansey, with those of Dr. Francis ♦ or 
General Dix f in their historical discourses ; or the pictures 
of Albany by Mrs. Grant and Kalm, with the recollections 
thereof in his boyhood so genially imparted by the late 
Judge Kent; I or Irving's epistolary accoxmt of his first 
voyage up the Hudson with his last trip to the Lakes, and wo 
have the most complete historical contrasts and local transi- 
tions, and realize by what means and methods the vast social 
and economical changes have taken place. 

* " Old New York," a Discourse delivered before the "New York Historical 
Society, by John W. Francis, M. D., LL. D., in commemoration of the Rfty- 
third Anniversary, New York, 1867. 

t " The City of New York, its Growth, Destiny, and Duties," a Lecture by 
John A. Dix, before the New York Historical Society, New York, 1863. 

^ *^ An Address Delivered before the Young Men^s Association o